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Cardinals consider leaving Flagstaff training site

The Arizona Cardinals could be moving from Flagstaff, after a quarter-century of training there.

The team has issued a request to Glendale on proposals to host training camp beginning in summer 2013.

Julie Frisoni with the City of Glendale said they have until Friday to give the team a plan. City officials are meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the matter.

Glendale is facing budget issues after the council approved a $300 million deal to keep the Coyotes. The city will have to cut almost $20 million and 200 jobs within the next five years.

“The Cardinals have had a sellout every game since they moved to their new stadium in Glendale in 2006,” said Frisoni. “Certainly if it makes sense to host the training camp as well, it’s something that we would definitely want to look into.”

For Flagstaff, possible loss of the NFL franchise would hurt but “wouldn’t be catastrophic,” said Wayne Fox, assistant dean with Northern Arizona University’s school of business. Still, the city would hate to lose the team.

According to an NAU Center of Business Outreach study, 38,000 fans attended the 2010 camp, generating $9.7 million for the region, and was responsible for 125 jobs.

The report found that more than half of the visitors stayed an average of three days and spent more than $250 per person on each day.

“To me the bigger loss would be the exposure NAU and Flagstaff receive. People around the nation don’t think of pine trees when they think of Arizona,” Fox said.

The team could very well end up staying in Flagstaff.

Flagstaff and Glendale aren’t the only would-be suitors. Other Valley cities could be on the list, although nothing official has been released.

Frisoni said cost is the top priority for Glendale.

“We obviously have to look at all the benefits that hosting an event of this magnitude would bring.”

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