By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
For those who “bleed blue” in Madison County, the opportunity to see some football action off-screen will once again present itself this summer with the return of the Indianapolis Colts’ preseason training camp.
The Colts announced on Monday that, for the fourth consecutive year, the team will hold its camp at Anderson University.
AU also made the announcement online while Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted the news, citing Anderson’s “GREAT Colts fans” and the university’s “beautiful campus.”
“We’re very pleased the Colts find Anderson and Anderson University a summer home,” Mayor Kevin Smith said, adding the city appreciates both parties.
He called Colts camp a “tremendous asset” to the city, citing its positive impact on the economy and ability to “bolster our own belief in Anderson.”
Anderson/Madison County Corporation for Economic Development Director Rob Sparks said the camp’s two weeks is a short span of time, but that it “gives a lot of exposure” to Anderson by showing off AU’s facility and drawing in national media attention. It’s not only “another marketing point” but an economic boost, as well, he said, as visitors from multiple states bring more business.
The camp had an estimated economic impact of about $6 million last year.
“The past three years have been great not only for the university,” AU’s Director of Communications Chris Williams said, “but also for the city, and we look forward to hosting again.”
Tens of thousands of fans attended the 2012 training camp, Williams said, when rookie quarterback Andrew Luck stepped in for former quarterback Peyton Manning, who is now donning the color orange for the Denver Broncos.
The Colts’ summer training camp returned to Anderson University in 2010.
The campus first hosted it in 1984, following the team’s move to Indianapolis, until 1998, when it moved to the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute.
Williams noted Colts City will return for family enjoyment, and practices will continue at Macholtz Stadium for 2013’s camp.
Fans attending this year’s camp will also see the team coming off an 11-5 season that ended in a playoff berth.
It was one of the best one-season turnarounds in NFL history with the team bouncing back from a 2-14 season the year prior.
“It’s a really exciting time to welcome tens of thousands of visitors to campus to experience professional football up close,” Williams said.
Many came proudly displaying their favorite player’s jersey last year.
While an opening date for the camp hasn’t yet been set, it typically opens around the end of July.
Specific dates and a practice schedule are expected to be announced early in the summer.
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