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Training Camp Towns: Cortland, NY

This is the third in a series of posts by Chaz Bolte highlighting the economic impact of the NFL lockout on some of the NFL’s Training Camp Towns.


According to news sources, the NY Jets have placed a July 1st deadline to decide whether they will hold their training camp on the campus of SUNY – Cortland, south of Syracuse, again this year. The team moved to the state-of-the-art facility in Cortland two years ago after spending the prior 40 preseasons at Hofstra. The labor dispute comes as the Jets and city/school officials renegotiate their contract. There are two years left on the deal, although cancellation would add a year onto that. This season the good people and business owners may have to watch from home as the Jets make preparations to hold their training camp at the team’s practice facilities in Florham Park, NJ.

Although it’s only been held in Cortland for the past two seasons, the Jets have already made deep ties in the community. Cortland State football coach Dan MacNeil has stated that the Jets have already had an effect on both his program and the community.

“Just their presence alone has stimulated people. It’s just good for the mental health of the community,” said Cortland State football coach Dan MacNeill. “For our people, it’s been fun. It has impacted the football program. We don’t have normal use of our facilities. But an NFL franchise, no matter where you go, there’s a heck of a following.”

Many in the community, such as restaurant owner Mark Bryan, have seen Training Camp become the busy season at their businesses as Jets fans leave NYC during the dog days of summer for a few days out in the country. Bryan, owner of Doug’s Fish Fry, said in an interview with ESPN that his, “business spikes 25% in August and that, other than Good Friday, the day of the intrasquad scrimmage is the busiest of the year.”

Bryan claims that he will miss the Jets not being in town mostly as a fan, but it can’t be good for his business. The restaurant gained notoriety last year after appearing on HBO’s Hard Knocks, an uncensored look inside NFL Training Camps. People come to eat the same meals they saw Ladainian Tomlinson enjoying on the show.

However, it’s more than just one restaurant by the stadium that will be affected. The Governor’s office has estimated that last years training camp brought $4.26 Million to Cortland County. The University reported that Jets camp drew 41,000 visitors last year, from 32 states and four Canadian provinces. Though nearly 90 percent were from New York, 59 of the 62 counties were represented. In comparison, Cortland County has a population of only 49,336 according to the 2010 census.


Training Camp Towns: Spartanburg, SC
Training Camp Towns: Mankato, MN


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