Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees practices with teammates during the first day of training camp in Metairie, La., last summer. The team announced Thursday it will split time between La., and the Greenbrier Resort for this summer’s camp.

 

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Greenbrier Resort owner Jim Justice has convinced the New Orleans Saints to hold part of their preseason camp at famed resort. The Saints confirmed the agreement in a news release Thursday afternoon.

The announcement said the Saints, as it has since 2009, would continue to hold some practices in the New Orleans area with “popular training camp fan engagement enhancements including free parking and seating and open practices at the Saints facility in Metairie, La.”

Justice said the deal with the Saints is through 2016. He said the team plans to stay a month in White Sulphur Springs between their preseason games. He said admission to the practices would be free.

Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis said the move to West Virginia would also benefit the team.

“We feel like this decision will allow our team to best prepare for our 2014 season by practicing at our facility and also taking advantage of a more moderate climate and setting in West Virginia, similar to what we did in 2009 when we went to southern California for a week,” Loomis said in a prepared release. I have always been a proponent of mixing up training camp every few years which I believe is a good strategy as we prepare for the season. With this plan, we get the best of both and that is important. We get quality practices in both locations and we get the benefits of having our fans support us during our time at home in Metairie and we get the opportunity for our team to unite at a location away from home.”

Exact locations and practice times in West Virginia will be announced at a later date.

Justice said he’ll build three practice fields and a 55,000 square foot multi-use building. He said the Saints players and staff will stay at the resort.

“We are very excited about this new opportunity with the New Orleans Saints, which will benefit all the people of West Virginia, bringing in tourism and new jobs,” Justice said in a prepared statement.

Saints coach Sean Payton said splitting time between the two locations would further enhance his team’s 2014 training camp.

“We all understand the importance of training camp and ultimately, that’s to get the team ready for the regular season,” Payton said. “As far as the time we will spend at The Greenbrier, it offers a tremendous opportunity to our team in a more moderate summer climate.”

Since 2009, the New Orleans Saints Training Facility has been located in Metairie, La.  Between 2006 and 2008, the Saints trained in Jackson, Ms.  In the past, training camps for the Saints were also held in Thibodaux, La., La Crosse, Wis., Hammond, La., Vero Beach, Fl. and Bowling Green, Oh.

The training camp is one of three Greenbrier projects granted a possible ten year tax credit, worth $25 million total, with a bill the Legislature approved on the final day of the Regular Legislative Session.

That bill, the West Virginia Tourism Development Act, which includes the tax credit written specifically for The Greenbrier, has been sent to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for his signature.

Justice praised state leaders with helping make the deal happen.

“I want to particularly thank West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Senate President Kessler, Speaker of the House Miley, and all of the Legislature for their commitment in promoting tourism and tourism jobs,” Justice said.

In addition to the NFL training camp, the Greenbrier tax credit would be used against the corporate net income tax for a planned $90 million medical facility that was first announced in 2011.  The third project reportedly includes several ski hills near The Greenbrier.

The total investment for the three projects is estimated at $400 million.

There is a sunset provision within the bill that would end the credit possibilities, unless extended, on Jan. 1, 2020.

The home field for the New Orleans Saints, the 2009 Super Bowl Champions, is the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La.

 


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Comments

  • Long Run

    In the long run this is a step towards a permanent NFL team. Got to open every door possible

    • Aaron

      West Virginia does not have the population base to support a professional sports franchise. That's a pipe dream.

      • charles

        Or a coalfield expressway

      • JustaFan

        ^this

    • Hop'sHip

      I'm excited about that future White Sulpher Springs Saints - Washington Redsk... Washington Devils rivalry!

    • Uncle Unctuous

      WV will be another feel-good story in the illustrious history of seasonal practice sites that eventually hosted permanent NFL franchises in the modern era. Here is a list of those:

      • Larry

        I agree, WV will never have a real pro sports team of any variety, period.

        • keith

          Yeah , thats probably true. Certainly isnt right , but probably true. But look it this way, Kinda like that sibling who never had any children , but he or she was always a great aunt or uncle and the kids adored them. And they treated them like they were their own. Id like to see that happen. Then it becomes even more special and enduring. WhoDat!!!!!!

  • GDawg

    This is great! The NFL Network and ESPN will constantly be at The Greenbrier showcasing the Saints and talking about how awesome the Greenbrier is. Mr. Justice has done an awesome job showcasing our state all of the golf WORLD and now he will be showcasing it to the football WORLD not just our little section of the US. I wouldn't be at all suprised if the some of the wealthier people in the organization build homes at the Sporting Club like Bubba Watson has, Nick Faldo, etc. which does nothing but help our great state!

    • Rao

      GDawg hit it. Mr. Justice has done more for West Virginia than all the politicians put together. He is indeed our "shadow government" as he puts his money and mouth to work. The single fact that Bubba Watson is now a Mountaineer is worth zillions.

      My State Senator, Clark Barnes, was the first out of the gate with an op/ed.."The Injustice of Mr. Justice". How cute coming from the Tea Party.

      • HillboyWV

        I like to know what Mr. Justice has done that has helped the state so much. You mean putting businesses out of business by not paying his bills. You know how many law suits are filed against him because he don't pay his bills. Ask anyone in the coal industry or that has worked in the coal industry. All they do is beat people out of money. Then you praise him what a joke.

  • Larry

    Having an NFL team from a thousand miles away come to WV for a few weeks to practice will be huge, I imagine our states poplulation will double in the next few years, and we will shoot to the top in all the good stats, instead of always being at the bottom.

    • Charles

      Our state's population will double? Not in a hundred years. Sorry to say, we are going to be at or near the bottom in most categories. It doesn't mean living here is a bad thing-we just don't have a diverse economy that's going to grow. Be happy for what we have. This training camp thing isn't going to be an economic boon for the state. It will help Jim Justice, but not anybody statewide. Be realistic. Don't get carried away.

      • keith

        Your not at the bottom. Your still a very pure version of what American used to be. In all of the best categories. So in my book that puts u at the TOP. It's a majority of them that aren't. There's something. About being in WV that just feels safe.

      • Uncle Unctuous

        'Twas sarcasm.

    • Uncle Unctuous

      Hee hee. Maybe we can give Mr. Justice a billion dollar tax break to construct the international airport that will surely be required to accommodate the influx.

      • Larry

        Hopefully so, It'll make O'Hare seem like a private landing strip.

  • The bookman

    Quite an anti climactic turn, in my opinion. I look forward to additional details, but on the surface I have to admit I was hoping for a bigger impact. Of the three projects, I'm more excited by the medical facility than the other two. Skiing is already regionally available and the NFL training facility seems lackluster. But I still stand by my previous posts in support of the tax incentive philosophy for job creation. I heard Kessler and Miley both discuss the merits of these projects and the large number of jobs they would bring, so I look forward to being pleasantly surprised by the economic impact in the Greenbrier Valley.

    • keith

      Thank God, Mr.Justice. has the vision and the understanding. Of what makes money for him and the community. And at the same time the people get to live the experience and reap the benefits of these new additions.Sports teams unite communities. And bring the people together. More importantly they drive revenue. Imagine. The Saints go to the Superbowl. And Win!!..Mr.Justice. is a very smart man indeed. After all he saved the GREENBRIER and had he not, we wouldn't be having this conversation

  • a concerned educator

    Mr. Justice seems to be one of a few wealthy West Virginians who actually reinvest in the state. He also seems to be an individual who is willing to actually work for what he is getting. The training camp may not be the panacea of job development, but at least the man is trying. If more wealthy West Virginians would try and reinvest here, maybe the state would be better off. Small steps often lead to long walks.

    • NotSoFastMyFriend

      Finally, a commonsense post. It is outside-the-box thinking like this that may actually help WV move forward instead of remaining permanently stagnant. Succinctly, at least Justice is trying, which is more than can be said for many others who also have the power to bring about change.

      • wvgirl

        Maybe, just maybe, some of the wealthy football players/coaches/staff will decide they like Greenbrier county and decide to build a house at the Sporting club...more potential construction jobs, landscaping, security, etc...

  • Aaron

    What are the citizens of West Virginia getting for this tax break besides the distinction of being an NFL training camp site? And seriously, how much of a distinction is that? Can anyone tell me where more than a few teams hold their training camp?

    As CaptainQ pointed out below, there will be very few, if any full time jobs for West Virginians at this facility. It's certainly not going to be a big boost for the economy as all that's going to happen is the team is going to come here and practice for a month.

    Yes, the Greenbrier will rent some rooms to reporters and a small number of fans and the local restaurants may see a slight increase in business but it's going to be difficult, if not impossible for the state to recoup even a part of the tax break on this venture.

    I now see why this was rushed through the Legislature in the manner it was.

    • stophating

      +1

      For once, we are in total agreement.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Aaron, we taxpayers seem to subsidizing Louisianans recreational pursuits with our own tax dollars.

      • keith

        Perhaps its the constant pessimism that continues to plaque you and allows very little room for your eyes to see. This is a major deal. I dont worry bout the Saints they are paying there way.This will be an ongoing attraction for 3 years. There is a forrest for the trees.

    • Ryan

      I haven't read the bill, but my understanding is that State will not be giving Mr. Justice any money out of its own pocket. The tax credit will be applied against corporate tax liabilities from profits (if there are any). Thus, Mr. Justice will receive a tax benefit only if the projects are completed and profitable. The possible outcomes for the State of WV are:

      1. The venture fails or breaks even, and the tax credit expires before Mr. Justice receives a benefit.

      2. The venture is profitable, but only to a point that zeros out Mr. Justice's tax bill so the State receives no income tax. Regular income tax rates go into effect after 10 years.

      3. The venture is profitable beyond the amount of the credits, and the state receives new revenues that may not have existed at all had the tax credit not been approved.

      Basically, my understanding is that the State sweetened the upside for Mr. Justice by agreeing to forego up to $25MM of income taxes for 10 years in exchange for Mr. Justice taking all the upfront risks. Am I reading something wrong?

      • Hughesknight

        It is not clear that the legislation says that the medical clinic has to earn any corporate net income to get reimbursed for the 25% of the investment . If it as you say it does then that is fine. Each of these announcements and the implications for tax credit should be looked at individually and whether or not each one is in the best interest of West Virginia. This is a great announcement today and no other West Virginian but Jim Justice could have come close o pulling it off.But the devil is in the details of the legislation and how the tax credits work in the reql world,

  • Jim N Charleston

    And this was the BIG announcement?

    Wow, what news.

    In other big news, Skippy got a 10 yr contract from JR.

    I'm Jim N So Charleston

    • Jim N Charleston

      Worth every $0.01 of the $25,000,000.00 tax credit.

  • Geaux Saints

    Geaux Jim Justice! Of all the NFL teams, the Saints would be the perfect fit. Could potentially add great tourism to West Virginia.

    • keith

      Who DAT!!!!!!!!!

    • Jason412

      If by tourism you mean very few die-hard fans and some media from NOLA then yeah, it'll be great for that.

      • Charleston

        Exposure is exposure, as exposure is exposure. It certainly will help tourism.

    • Aaron

      How?

      • Larry

        How??? Are you kidding??? millions of people will be coming from all over the country to watch the Saints practice for the week they will be there! This makes the construction of a "cracker" seem like the opening of a VHS video rental store!!!

      • Kiddkornbred

        It appears that you just cruise stories so that you can be negative and complain. I think maybe you have never stood out in your life and now this is your way of getting attention.

      • Greg

        A new link with one of the great travel destinations in America, New Orleans. Certainly can't hurt. Also, how about helping to knock down some of those negative stereotypes we displaced West Virginians have to deal with in our new states? Certainly can't hurt that either.

      • Charleston

        People do travel to watch spring practices, you know. Now with regards to the New Orleans Saint following, that's another question.

  • joeyjojo

    unbelievable. 25 million dollars down the toilet.

  • It's Magic

    How does he seem to do it? Easy when you are loaded having lobbyist obtain tax breaks for things that will bring little to no full time work to current west Virginians all while failing to pay creditors and trying to cast them off and settle out of court for smaller amounts. Sure he's brought the PGA tour to town, but the tax breaks are silly at best.

  • blackwater boy

    Would be nice if wv had a NFL team.

    • keith

      We will you let u adopt them as there second home.

  • CaptainQ

    THIS was the big announcement? THIS was the reason the legislature wrote Jim Justice a 'blank check' in the form of 25 million in tax credits? For a training camp for the New Orleans Saints? Really?

    Even if this does come to pass, this will be, at best, seasonal employment for a few lucky West Virginians and maybe a small seasonal boost for local businesses. If this state is going to shell out 25 million in tax credits, there just has to be more job creation/economic benefit than this! Don't get me wrong, having the New Orleans Saints official training camp in Greenbrier County would be fantastic, but if this is going to be such a great investment for Mr. Justice, why did he need the tax credits to cover it for him?

    • Hop'sHip

      What do you mean no jobs, Q? I understand the Saints are badly in need of linebackers. Maybe YOU could apply. What is your 40 time?

      • CaptainQ

        No thanks, Hop'ship. Football is a game for the young. Feel free to give it a try yourself though!

    • GregG

      I have to agree with you Captain. And with all this "great news", I have yet to see anything stating that the New Orleans Saints have signed a contract that would guarantee they remain in the facility for 10 years. Reminds me of Don Blankenship hiring Hank Jr. to sing a few songs.....smoke and mirrors.

    • Jason412

      +1 Captain

      Anyone who's ever been to Latrobe, PA should know a NFL training camp is far from synonymous with local prosperity.

      (Sorry if double post, didn't show up)

    • Chris from Salem

      I see your point, but whom else is trying to do anything productive to boost our economy? One good thing should lead to another good thing, right? Let the private, business owners do their business thing to grow the state.

      • Think before reacting

        "let private business owners do their business..." Right. Let them do their business, especially a coal operator. And we'll all end up like McDowell County

        • Frank from Clarksburg

          Let's see, the state gives a tax break, on an as yet unearned, and as yet untaxed income, so Mr Justice can build a needed medical center, some possible ski trails, and a large shed that will probably house a NFL training camp. I don't see anyone else proposing a darn thing. They projects may not produce as many permanent jobs as projected, but then either do state or federally funded projects, which the taxpayers actually pay for, and these projects will generate other taxes, which are not waived. Tell an out of work construction worker that having a job for several months that he would be better off unemployed, see what his answer is. Before you whine about some richguy getting a tax break, maybe, I want see the whiners put up the money to build it, or even plan it.

          • chArles

            Frank
            Maybe. But if we didn't haVe so many theifs and liers in are system. We. Could

      • Jason412

        Chris,

        "Let the private, business owners do their business thing to grow the state."

        I agree with that, but let the private business owners spend their private dollars. I highly doubt the tax break would've made or broke this decision, so to waste 25 million on something that would've happened without it is nonsense.

    • Alum

      Come on Captain. This shows quite a bit of vision, something that is often lacking in the state.

  • Walker Pauley

    Good job Jim Justice. The citizens of Wedt Virginia should always be grateful for the attention you bestow upon our great state.

  • Big Bob-E

    I know how...he's not afraid to get his hands dirty. I saw him at the Greenbrier Open this summer...but he was not hanging-out with the celebrities...he was helping the ground crews getting the course back in shape after a round of thunderstorms. I would call that having a hands-on management style.

    • stophating

      From what many have alleged, perhaps he had failed to pay the grounds crew and had no choice.

  • Mike

    I don't know how he does it, but Justice knows how to make things happen.

    • Big Hooptie

      He'd make a great governor but he's too smart for that.