The Cardinals move to Glendale has a number of fans excited that the team will be working out closer to home, while others feel like they’ve lost a long standing tradition of getting out of the sweltering summer heat and driving to the much cooler pines of Flagstaff.
Cardinals' President Michael Bidwill told reporters in June that, “the facilities that NAU moved us into over the last couple of years were completely substandard for a professional football team and we were paying big rent up there. They just didn’t want to cooperate with us anymore. I hope the business community understands that it was a few people at NAU that really made this decision easy for us, because I was not going to let the team be at a competitive disadvantage by continuing to use those facilities.”
Word first leaked in December 2012 that the Cardinals had opened discussions with Glendale about holding training camp at the University of Phoenix Stadium, but it wasn’t until March that NAU finally gave up.
Northern Arizona University President John Haeger sent the Cardinals a two line email on March 7, 2103.
“Given the events of the last 48 hours, Northern Arizona University officially withdraws its proposal to host the Cardinals' training camp. I wish you the best.”
The University let it be known that it was moving on and soon after the March email, NAU had booked its facilities for the summer of 2013.
Bidwill said, “I think the fans need to understand that we tried to make the best decision competitively for the team.”
But the decision by the Cardinals to move to Glendale has left a number of Flagstaff businesses wondering how they’ll recoup the more than $10 million dollars that flow into Flagstaff every summer because of Cardinals' training camp.
Brandon Garcia, manager of LaFonda’s Mexican Restaurant in Flagstaff told ABC15, “We got the mom and pop shops who thrive on that. They almost expect it every year, but now they’re going to have to find a new avenue of revenue to supplement what they’re going to be losing.” “I think they’re kind of pushing Arizona away”, added Garcia. “Maybe they should be the Phoenix Cardinals again or the Glendale Cardinals.”
But according to Bidwill, “I think it’s going to make us a better team and it’s going to give more access to more fans.”
With future plans for training camp still unclear, Garcia believes he has a better idea for the business owners of Flagstaff, “maybe we should try to invite another NFL team because we’re high altitude training. Olympians train here and it’s the number one destination to train, so I don’t see why another NFL team wouldn’t come here.”
We did reach out to NAU to get their response but they told us they wouldn’t comment on the Cardinals' decision to move to Glendale. However, they did tell ABC15 that their facilities are still available for next summer.
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