When Michael Bidwill said earlier this year he was seeking a long-term contract for his Arizona Cardinals and their summer training camp, he apparently wasn't kidding.
A Glendale city official has prepared a memo for that city's council that refers to a 15-year agreement to host the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Northern Arizona University, which has hosted the summer camp for 23 years, has traditionally not offered contracts longer than three years.
The memo is informational only and the Glendale City Council is not expected to take any action during today's meeting. The Council would need to meet again in order to sign off on any agreement between the city and the pro football club.
Last week, Bidwill, the Cardinals' owner, said he was close to a deal that would relocate the team's summer camp to Glendale.
NAU President John Haeger released a statement last Friday describing an "extraordinary" bid to keep the Arizona Cardinals' training camp in Flagstaff.
The proposal, contends Haeger, would keep the Cardinals' costs flat for housing, food and other incidentals, carrying over prices from its 2009-12 contract.
The university even moved back the first day of classes to a Wednesday to accommodate the expected late departure of the Cardinals from the dorms, a move that meant commencement would also fall on a Wednesday to allow for a full 15 weeks of classes.
NAU's offer was expected to be for only three years, similar to the last contract it had with the pro football team.
It was prepared with the city of Flagstaff, the Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona and the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce.
"We are committed to offering the same high level of service to the Cardinals and their fans and being a part of one of the team's longest-standing traditions since it moved to Arizona," Haeger said.
No other terms related to the NAU proposal have been released.
According to the terms of the 2010 contract, which has since expired, the Cardinals paid NAU a base annual fee of $73,435 and an additional $228,758 for use of the Pine Ridge Village dorms. They also gave NAU a $225,000 deposit before the start of the camp.
Under the terms of the 2010 contract, the city of Flagstaff gave the Cards $32,000 annually for radio and print ads in the Phoenix metropolitan area as well as renting time on one of the electronic billboards at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The ads promote year-round travel to Flagstaff, not just for the summer training camp. The amount given by the city to the NFL team has been cut back twice in the last two years.
But Haeger said the university is prepared for the possibility that the Cardinals are not coming back.
"If the team announces it will not return, the university will immediately begin planning other uses for our facilities that assure both revenue for the community and support for our academic mission."
The training camp is estimated to inject roughly $2.3 million into the Flagstaff economy annually, according to a study performed by the Arizona Rural Policy Institute at NAU -- $1.6 million directly and $700,000 indirectly.
But those impacts, which are calculated according to a standardized economic model, might not be as great in practice. When the Cardinals went to Prescott in 2005 because of a virus outbreak at NAU, taxable tourist-related sales in Flagstaff showed no drop from 2004, nor were sales in 2006 much higher when the Cardinals returned.
One reason may be Flagstaff's attraction as a summer tourist attraction, with or without the Cardinals. In addition, local merchants report that many of the Cardinals fans are day-trippers from the Valley who pack picnic lunches and spend relatively little in Flagstaff.
Joe Ferguson can be reached at 556-2253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.