Northern Arizona University officials were caught off-guard Friday when news broke that Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said he was close to a deal that would relocate the team's summer camp to the Valley.
Despite what NAU's president calls an "extraordinary" bid to keep the Arizona Cardinals' training camp in Flagstaff, the Birds might be moving to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale this summer.
NAU President John Haeger said the NAU proposal keeps the Cardinals' costs flat for housing, food and other incidentals, carrying over prices from its 2009-12 contract. 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.
"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."
According to the terms of the 2010 contract, which has since expired, the Cardinals paid NAU a base annual fee of $73,435, an additional $228,758 for use of the Pine Ridge Village dorms as well as giving NAU a $225,000 deposit before the start of the camp.
Under the terms of the deal, the city of Flagstaff gave the Cards $32,000 annually.
The funds were to be used 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.
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.
Direct spending by all parties -- the 150-person Cardinals entourage, out-of-town fans, the news media, and various promotions by the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce and other sponsors -- accounts for roughly $1.6 million.
Indirect spending, or the extra amount local businesses spend to meet demand for goods and services created by the Cardinals camp, totaled about $700,000.
Indirect spending accounts for the amount local businesses spent to meet the demands of Cardinals camp.
Joe Ferguson can be reached at 556-2253 or email@example.com.