Training camp practices are moving much closer to home for the Cardinals.
In fact, they are moving into the Cards' Sunday home.
Team president Michael Bidwill confirmed Tuesday – the same day the team held their annual Fan Fest minicamp practice at University of Phoenix Stadium – the Cards will indeed conduct their public training camp practices this year at their home stadium.
“We know that the most important thing for fans is where they can come see the team practice and that part is confirmed,” Bidwill said. "We will practice at University of Phoenix Stadium. However, everything else beyond that still has to be worked out. So while we have the stadium arrangements completed, all of the other issues remain unsettled."
(For more Bidwill comments on the situation, click here.)
Attending practices and parking will continue to be free for fans. Specific dates and times for practices – as well as fan initiatives, including autograph accessibility -- are yet to be announced.
With the Philadelphia Eagles and new coach Chip Kelly choosing to hold camp at their facility, 20 of the 32 NFL teams now have their camp either at their training facility or home stadium. In 2001, only five teams stayed home, but the trend over the years is for franchises to utilize their own facilities.
“First and foremost, training camp is a critically important activity from a football standpoint in terms of preparing for the season ahead,” Bidwill said. “Putting our team in the best possible environment to succeed is our number one focus.
“We also see it as very important from a fan engagement perspective and we are committed to making training camp as enjoyable an experience for fans as we can.”
The Cardinals already had moved Fan Fest to University of Phoenix Stadium, with Tuesday night the second straight year the minicamp work was held in Glendale. Last year, the annual Fan Fest event was held on a Wednesday night in June – the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t allow veteran players to work on weekends – and a record-breaking crowd of around 15,000 showed up.
The Cardinals spent every previous camp at Northern Arizona University save for the one in 2005, moved at the last minute to Prescott because of a Norovirus outbreak on the NAU campus.
The team is counting on the move to Glendale to not only ease some logistical problems for the team but also allow for fans who couldn’t make the trek north to Flagstaff to see the team during training camp.