Grand Park is preparing to welcome the Indianapolis Colts back for training camp, with practices open to the public July 28 to Aug. 24.
The team signed a 10-year contract to hold training camp at the Westfield campus beginning in 2018, but last year, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the camp was held without fans at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center in Indianapolis, the team’s regular practice facility.
Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said he is eager to welcome the Colts back to town.
“We have endeavored with the Colts to make this the premier preseason camp in all of the National Football League,” Cook said. “What I hear from the Colts is we’re well on our way to doing just that.”
Many aspects of training camp will look similar to past years, with a few changes because of NFL COVID-19 protocols. Unlike years past, fans will not be permitted to interact with players or coaches and must maintain a 20-foot distance from them at all times.
The event will not have COVID-related capacity restrictions, health screenings or general mask mandates. There will be a section of seating where face coverings are required for those who prefer to sit in a masked area.
If practice is moved indoors, NFL protocols require that fans not be permitted in the building to watch.
New features a year later
Grand Park made several improvements in anticipation of the Colts 2020 training camp, but players and fans have had to wait a year to use them.
Colts City will move to a new 85,000-square-foot asphalt pad adjacent to a Play 60 turf field next to the practice field. The areas will offer opportunities for guests to try football drills, visit the Colts Pro Shop and inflatables, take photos and more.
“We really are excited about the more centralized location,” said Roger VanDerSnick, Colts chief sales and marketing officer. “Fans will have the ability to spend time in Colts City but also easily access viewing for training camp.”
In addition to several themed days, training camp will feature two joint practices with the Carolina Panthers on Aug. 12 and 13. The two teams will meet in a preseason game Aug. 15 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Free, walk-up COVID-19 vaccines will be available each day of camp through a partnership with the Hamilton County Health Dept. and IU Health.
“We’re looking for opportunities throughout the county where we can get out into these areas,” said Christian Walker, HCHD emergency preparedness coordinator. “We understand folks who work normal business hours can’t necessarily get out to our other vaccination clinics, so this is a great partnership for us.”
Eager for full stands
Cook said the financial impact of Colts training camp at Grand Park goes well beyond the campus itself, as visitors also spend money at local restaurants and shops.
“Colts camp is a huge part of our economic formula at Grand Park,” he said.
VanDerSnick said he’s seeing evidence that Colts fans are eager to see the team live and in-person again, as ticket sales have been hitting goals and some sections are already sold out. He said some fans are already asking how they can purchase tickets for the 2022 season.
Having fans back at training camp and at Lucas Oil Stadium will help the team, he said.
“(The players) feed off the energy,” VanDerSnick said. “There’s obviously a real home field advantage when the stands are full, we’re looking forward to returning to that.”
Learn more at Colts.com/camp.
Colts training camp schedule
- July 28 (Camp Kickoff) — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
- July 29 (Youth Sports Day) — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
- July 30 (“Out of Office” day) — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
- July 31 (Kids Day — Colts City noon to 4 p.m., practice 1 to 2:30 p.m.
- Aug. 2 (Back to School Day) — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 to 11:30 a.m.
- Aug. 3 (Colts Community Day) — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 to 11:45 a.m.
- Aug. 4 — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 to 11:45 a.m.
- Aug. 6 — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
- Aug. 7 (Hall of Fame Day) — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 to 11:30 a.m.
- Aug. 8 (Bike to Camp Day) — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 to 11:45 a.m.
- Aug. 10 — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 to 11:45 a.m.
- Aug. 11 (Armed Forces Day) — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 to 11:20 a.m.
- Aug. 12 (“Thirsty Thursday”) — Colts City 3 to 7 p.m., joint practice with Panthers 4 to 6 p.m.
- Aug. 13 (Fan Appreciation Day) — Colts City 3 to 7 p.m., joint practice with Panthers 4 to 6 p.m.
- Aug. 17 (Frontline Worker Appreciation Day) — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 to 11:30 a.m.
- Aug. 18 (Grandparents Day) — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 to 11:30 a.m.
- Aug. 19 (Mom & Tots Day Out) — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 to 11:30 a.m.
- Aug. 23 — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 to 11:30 a.m.
- Aug. 24 — Colts City 8 a.m. to noon, practice 10 to 11:45 a.m.