The NFL lockout has provoked much discussion and speculation about the potential impact a season without football would have on the industry. Forecasters have commented on everything from social implications surrounding weekend leisure and fantasy leagues to economic impact on football communities, the food industry, and video game sales. A recent article pointed out that communities that typically host training camps are hopeful that an agreement will come soon, as these camps serve as a significant revenue source for the local economy during the summer months.
The Baltimore Ravens announced on June 22 that they will not hold their pre-season training camp in the small, rural town of Westminster, Maryland where the team has trained since the franchise moved to Baltimore from Cleveland. The Minnesota Vikings set a deadline of July 18 for a decision on whether or not it will hold its camp at Minnesota State University—Mankato, where the team has trained for over 40 years.
The Arizona Cardinals have held their camp at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona since 1988. The University’s Rural Policy Institute has reported that the training camp brought in $7 million to the local economy in 2010, with an overall economic impact of $10 million. Some 38,000 visitors came to the campus to watch the Cardinals train; 81% of those came from out-of-state. The camp directly created 122 temporary jobs in the Flagstaff area.
The loss of this kind of economic boost will be felt across the country as some 15 NFL teams still train for the season at sites away from their home cities. There is also a non-economic boost as well. The presence of the players and staffs for some 5 weeks can provide a noticeable boost to the rhythm of daily activities in the mostly small towns where the teams go for pre-season preparations.
Sports administrators and those working in sports marketing and related fields should pay close attention to how all of this plays out. Such decisions by sports franchises have far-reaching effects that can impact the economy and self-esteem of small communities. There are lessons to be learned in areas such as economics, finance and marketing.
Events such as the NFL lockout have lessons to teach anyone who wants to work in the field of sport management. These kinds of current events are part of the learning process for students at the United States Sports Academy. Interested parties should check the Academy out by going to its website at http://ussa.edu.