RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)—CBS 6 investigated what type of impact the Redskins training camp will have on the city.
To find out just what kind of impact a Redskins training camp may have on Richmond we looked 366 miles southwest to Spartanburg, South Carolina. Every summer the city welcomes with open arms the NFL’s Carolina Panthers for the team’s pre-season workouts.
Spartanburg`s Director of Visitor`s Bureau, Chris Jennings says the city has been closely linked with the Panthers for more than 15 years.
“Panther camp is one of the top five events in the county of Spartanburg,” Jennings says. “We love to see them come.”
A Spartanburg Visitors Bureau economic impact study shows 11,000 Panther fans travelled more than 50 miles for training camp and spent $2 million dollars during their visit.
A total of 34,000 fans descended upon training camp during the team’s two week stint in 2011.
“It is an opportunity to get up close and personal with the players and coaches as well,” says Jennings. “It was a win-win for everyone, but it took everyone working from the same playbook to make it happen.”
Die-hard Skins fan, Al Coleman, radio host and owner of Big Al`s Sports Bar in the West End is looking forward to the Skins arrival in the summer of 2013.
“I’ll be barking it up that we need to get people up there so they can be here for another 10 years after their eight year contract is up. As a fan it helps you to say they’re in my backyard,” Coleman says.
Spartanburg embraces the Panthers as their own. Coleman says Richmonders need to roll out the Redskin welcome mat.
“This will be a great way to promote Richmond,” Coleman says. “It is a feather in our cap, we can’t let the feather blow away.”
Chris Jennings with the Visitors Bureau in Spartanburg says Central Virginia has a golden opportunity to cultivate a relationship with one of the marquis franchises in sports. “It is really great to come up with new fresh ideas with everyone and I think Richmond will be the beneficiary for eight years maybe longer.”