The Cincinnati Bengals made the decision two years ago to no longer hold their training camp in Georgetown, Kentucky, which is almost two hours away from Paul Brown Stadium where the team not only plays its games, but also conducts all of it’s football operations. The team now holds it’s annual training camp in the friendly confines of PBS. They were just the latest NFL club to choose to remain home instead of traveling elsewhere for camp.
Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk pointed out the disparity in NFL teams choosing to stay home for training camp vs. teams opting to travel away for camp:
Just 13-of-32 teams will go away for training camp in 2013.
By contrast, 26-of-31 teams traveled for camp in 2000, per league data.
There are obvious advantages to staying at home and hitting the road. Some of the “home” advantages are more tangible. The most obvious plus is teams don’t have to spend time, energy and money taking their operations on the road.
The big advantage of traveling, of course, is the potential removal of the distractions of home, though whether that’s completely possible in the 21st century is another issue altogether.
One advantage I like in traveling is that NFL teams and expand their reach on potential fans. Using myself as an example, I’ve grown up and lived in Kentucky my whole life. Because the Bengals used to hold their annual training camp in Georgetown, I was able to go to practices with my dad, and that helped lead me to being a fan, and now a writer covering the team.
But I fully understand with today’s gas prices and mounting travel expenses why an NFL team would choose to remain in the confines of it’s home-city.