The Cardinals are close to a deal that would move their training camp from the pleasant mountains of Northern Arizona to the middle of the desert, which would require a giant air-conditioned tent.
According to Paul Giblin of the Arizona Republic, the team is “close to finalizing” a 15-year deal to move camp from Flagstaff to Glendale, which would allow the Cardinals to hold camp in their own facility.
The Cardinals have held camp at Northern Arizona University each year since they moved from St. Louis in 1988. Now, they’re thinking about ending that relationship, with the building of a $4 million air-conditioned tent which would cover a field and a half of artificial turf at a nearby youth sports facility.
The team is willing to pay for the tent, and get the first cut of lease revenue from non-camp events, after which they’ll split revenues with the local government.
The move would continue the trend of teams keeping training camps close to home, saving Cardinals fans who live near Phoenix the 145-mile drive to camp, and allowing the team to make more money.
Of course, the simple fact that they’re choosing to build a tent to recreate conditions they already had seems an unnecessary complication, and another step away from the pastoral charm of going away for camp, which is harder to monetize.