By Abbey Doyle
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The return of the Indianapolis Colts to Anderson for training camp had a huge impact on Anderson with record-setting camp attendance records and an estimated economic impact of nearly $6.5 million.
From Aug. 1 to 18, Anderson University hosted Colts players and staff for the training camp that had moved from Terre Haute. The camp, initially hosted in Anderson, was moved to Terre Haute as Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology had wooed the NFL franchise with better facilities. In the 12 years the camp was gone, AU made improvements to its campus — the addition of air conditioning where there was none, new surfaces in flooring and new restrooms in residence halls, improvements to the locker rooms, the opening of the Kardatzke Wellness Center in 2002, remodeled streets, and artificial turf was added to Macholtz Stadium.
The city also agreed to provide $100,000 for security and will lend AU $250,000 to make campus upgrades.
The final attendance figure was 85,300 fans over the 14 days the Colts practiced at AU. A Tuesday night practice drew in a record-breaking 9,500 fans. The average annual attendance during training camp while in Terre Haute was around 28,000, officials from Rose-Hulman reported.
Colts President Bill Polian wasn’t able to confirm if the training camp would return to Anderson as NFL team owners and players have not agreed on a labor agreement. With the labor uncertainty, a possible lockout of players looms over the 2011 season.
But Anderson Mayor Kris Ockomon and AU President James Edwards both said they are confident that Anderson is the long-term home for the Colts.