06 Aug 2015

For NFL Training Camps There’s More Going on Than Watching Practice from Aluminum Bleachers

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Aluminum bleachers at football stadium

Aluminum bleachers at football stadium

It’s summer time. It’s hot. For many it’s time for the beach. But for more and more die-hard football fans, it’s time to trek to the aluminum bleachers at training camp for their favorite NFL team.

Attendance at NFL training camps across the country is growing.  To accommodate that off-season interest from fans, teams are doing more than just providing a place to sit.

For one, the teams are enhancing their training camp facilities for the fans. They are adding more bleachers and many are moving closer to their home stadiums rather than the old tradition of practicing far away.

Teams are also adding more variety for the fans who visit. That includes providing free inflatable slides, photo booths, football toss challenges and other rides and activities.

Participating in all those activities making you hungry? The teams have that covered as well. At training camps, you now will see a line-up of food trucks and snack stands to fill the bellies of all those youngsters who quickly get bored sitting in the stands. I mean, how many times can you watch a quarterback throw a down and out to the same tight end over and over?

And yes, it can get sweaty sitting in those aluminum bleachers. That’s why teams will provide water coolers and misting stations to cool off.

Who pays for all this? You think the teams do? Well, we’re sure they pay plenty. But they also get support from training camp sponsors, some of them as big as Microsoft or Jet Blue.

A chance to get out of the aluminum bleachers to meet the players

But we all know one of the real reasons the fans will schlep all the way out to watch a practice has nothing to do with practice. It’s what happens after practice, when they hope and pray they can get an autograph from their favorite player.

The NFL knows autographs are a big business. That’s why many of the teams limit the autograph area to kids 12 and under (so then only little Johnny can sell his Eli Manning-signed jersey for $1000 and sock it away for his first car).

To keep the sessions organized with enough players available and not frustrate the fans or overwork the stars, many teams have different groups sign autographs on different days. For example, one day it might be the offensive backfield, another day the defensive front line.

In addition, because the demand for autographs is so high and players could probably sign collectibles for 24 hours straight and still have a line in front of them, many teams will ask retired players to come back and visit with the fans as well.

The great thing about going to an NFL training camp is that unlike the hosing you experience when you attend a regular season game, these events are free. Sometimes fans are required to order tickets in advance. But still, it’s a great opportunity to see your favorite players up front at zero cost.

NFL marketing executives across the country realize the value of providing these extras for fans. This goodwill often translates into more season-ticket holders later and increased sales of team merchandise.

As you can see, there’s quite a bit going on at NFL training camps in addition to watching the teams on the field from the aluminum bleachers. It’s nice to see organizations that are this generous to their customers.

Read about how there’s more to just sitting in the aluminum bleachers at the Giants and Jets training camps.






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