WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — The Indianapolis Colts are hosting the Cleveland Browns in Westfield for a joint practice as part of the Colts training camp.
Westfield has a population of about 40,000 people, but when the Colts are in town that number grows exponentially and the city says the growth they have seen even in just the last two years has made them look forward to what could come in the future.
On a good day at Colts camp, Grand Park sees around 6,000 people come out to watch. While tickets are free, the spectators bring in a significant amount of revenue to the city of Westfield.
“Not only from just the outside dollars it brings, from food and beverage and some hotel stays, but just what it does for our city morale, if you will,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook.
Cook says the crowds are bigger and travel from further away on days where the Colts host teams from other cities.
“Our population swells. For example, this week alone we will probably have as many visitors to our city as our population,” explained Cook.
“Yeah we are staying in a hotel then we will be back here tomorrow,” said Mike Campbell who drove in from Ohio.
The city hopes people will be spending money while they are in town.
“We ate one last time we were here. It was wonderful. It was out in Westfield, it was great,” said Christen Clayborn who lives in Indianapolis.
The Colts also attract coverage from various national and local media outlets like ESPN and Cleveland sports radio.
“We have had I think 150 million dollars last year in added media value,” explained Cook.
While when they built Grand Park they didn’t know it would become the home to Colts training camp, they did know it would significantly impact Westfield.
“It was intended to develop the industry of hotels, restaurants, entertainment and so on,” explained Cook.
It is the culture that has been created around Colts training camp that has Mayor Cook looking forward to the next eight years.
“You can tell the market is responding, building more hotels, building restaurants, building entertainment facilities, and it is just in a snow ball effect,” said Cook.
The Colts will host the Browns for a joint practice Wednesday and Thursday where they will wrap up training camp in Westfield. On Saturday the Colts will play the Browns in a preseason match up at Lucas Oil Stadium.