SBD/August 14, 2014/Facilities

Saints' Training Camp At The Greenbrier Deemed A Success, Could Lead To Longer Deal

Greenbrier is open to hosting baseball, soccer, and high school or college football
The Saints are “headed back to Louisiana” after the team's first training camp in West Virginia, and Greenbrier Owner Jim Justice said that he is now “fielding calls ‘from everywhere on everything’ about future use” of the $30M practice facility at the resort, according to Cam Huffman of the Beckley REGISTER-HERALD. The facility “contains the AdvoCare Sports Performance Center, two grass practice fields and one synthetic field.” Justice said that possibilities for professional baseball, professional soccer, high school games and in-state college football games "are being discussed, and plans are being finalized for West Virginia, Marshall and Virginia Tech to each spend a weekend during spring practices at the facility." The Greenbrier has the ability to "install 'significant permanent bleachers' at the fields in order to hold bigger crowds.” Justice said that an estimated 10-month construction period for a new Greenbrier Medical Institute “will begin as soon as the Saints are out.” Huffman notes the medical facility “will include a research and education institute, operating rooms, sports medicine, weight rooms, plastic surgery and more” (Beckley REGISTER-HERALD, 8/14). Huffman writes judging from "comments on both sides,” the relationship between the Saints and the Greenbrier “is likely to be a long one.” The original deal at the resort is for three years, but Saints coach Sean Payton said that he “sees no reason why it couldn’t become permanent.” Payton: “The setup is outstanding, and the ability to stay in an enclosed environment is good. The people here have been great, and I think everything about it has.” Justice said, “It surpassed any and everything that we all thought it could be” (Beckley REGISTER-HERALD, 8/14).

In Baton Rouge, Ted Lewis writes if there was "skepticism about the benefits of an NFL team moving training camp from its up-to-date (and state-funded) Metairie facility to this five-star resort located in a rural corner of southern West Virginia,” it “quickly dissipated when the players not only discovered the amenities such a place provides, but the extraordinarily cool temperatures.” The Saints “have their own practice facility” back in the suburbs of New Orleans “for when they want to cool off or get out of the rain, but it’s not the same as having a mountain breeze in your face.” Lewis: “While we might admire, and even romanticize enduring preseason drills during a Louisiana summer, the fact remains that teams get more work done when they’re not being drained by the sun or having to think about it” (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 8/14).
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