"Welcome to Westfield," said Mayor Andy Cook, calling it a historic day for the little city on the north side of Indianapolis.
Surrounded by members of the media and representatives from the Colts, the City of Westfield, and Grand Park Sports, it was the start of a new chapter as the Colts prepare to kick off a milestone season.
The Indianapolis Colts today released the team and fan schedule for 2018 Colts Training Camp, presented by Verizon and sponsored in part by Bud Light, which will kick off Wed., July 25 and break Sat., August 18.
"We are excited about the 35th season," said Roger VanDerSnick, Chief Marketing Officer for the Colts. "It'll be the year in which the Colts have been in Indianapolis longer than in Baltimore. We have a fairly extensive program that will unfold throughout the entire year and it is a great way to kick off that celebration with the inaugural event here at Grand Park."
Earlier this year, the Colts announced a 10-year partnership with Grand Park to host training camp.
"It's the perfect place for fans to come. I think having it up in Westfield on the north side of Indianapolis – it's easy to get to from 31, the parking is plentiful, there are bathrooms – all those things that people think about when they want to bring their families," said Colts Owner and Vice Chair Carlie Irsay-Gordon. "We're really looking forward to having that kind of nostalgic feeling during camp and to include all of our fans."
Now just a month away, the Colts released the most fan-friendly training camp schedule they've ever had. From kickoff on July 25th through August 18th, there are 20 days packed with activity for fans of all ages.
"We're going to have an official Camp Kickoff that features a youth football camp, we'll have live music, fireworks, speakers, some really great behind the scenes opportunities and ways to learn more about camp and the personnel," said VanDerSnick. "We'll have opportunities for children to write letters from camp. We'll do a number of charitable things – one of which is the school supply drive where we're going to partner with Teachers Treasures and encourage fans to donate school supplies for the upcoming school year."
There will also be some theme days – Kids Day with Riley Children's Health, the BBQ Bash Night Practice, Sunrise Yoga, Friday Night Lights, Community Day, Armed Forces Day, and Bike to Camp Day.
Training camp wraps up with two joint practices against the Baltimore Ravens on August 17th and 18th, leading up to their preseason matchup at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday, August 20th.
"It's a great opportunity for our fans to see the preparation, the determination, the effort of some 90 people that are going to be competing for fulltime jobs with the Colts this season and to really gain an appreciation for these world class athletes and a chance for folks to see that process unfold right before their very eyes in a very intimate fashion is a terrific opportunity for everybody," VanDerSnick said.
And with an army of 500 volunteers and trained staff, the city of Westfield is ready.
"What the mayor has challenged us to do is have the best training camp experience of all 32 teams," said William Knox, Director at Grand Park Sports. "So, that's what we're working on. The first year, we'll learn a lot. We've got 10 years to get this thing right and we're going to make sure it's better every year."
Training camp is free, but all fans must have a free ticket for entry each day. For tickets, the schedule, and more information on Colts training camp, go to Colts.com/camp.