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

  • w hoh

    Players will likely return to resort inoff season to stay at resort when they see how nice the resort & golf course is. And they tell other NFL players. THAT is the REAL advantage of this for Greenbrier.

  • charles

    Well tinch you got to be 1of the 20 because I have all my teeth never even heard of goatropeing and iam well equipted don't need to find root

  • charles

    I don't think people should judge how jim spends his money he is a true hillbilly he has done more for the state than the state has. For years I don't see anyone else steping up to the plate

  • Karen Marie Meade

    HOPING THEY HAVE OPEN TO FANS DAYS THERE TOO THE WHO DAT NATION IS ALL OVER THE U.S.!!

  • John Keating

    Awesome!

  • Big Steve

    A lot of opinions folks! Just my take
    1. Mr. Justice is running a business. Not the State. If this did not forecast to be a positive event for the GREENBRIER - this would NOT HAVE happened.. You are foolish to think this was done for WV AND the Greenbrier..
    2. WV will NEVER have an NFL team.. Fact. Poor economics and demographics - Hmmm.. next team L.A or White sulphur? That's not a knock, I LOVE WV, its just a reality
    3. This may create 90 day temp jobs, but that's about it likely. This is a big deal for the Greenbrier but nationally, training camp doesn't really register except for die hard fan which generally CANT afford to stay at the Greenbrier
    4. This is a GREAT way to sell new homes, market the property, and get inexpensive (yes CHEAP, tax credits), and LEVERAGE the luxury lifestyle.
    ITs great victory for the Greenbrier and I applaud their creative thinking and closing a nice deal for the GREENBRIER. That is what they should be doing and I don't expect anything else. If this deal was going to lose money, I guarantee (including marketing valuation) they would NOT have done it. This wasn't for our great state. And that's ok. Congrats and hope its a massive success!

  • Michael

    The more you read the comments the more you begin to understand why WVA is perceived as a backwards, redneck, hillbilly, idiots this is a very good thing for the state!

  • Michael

    Jim Justice is the man!! He knows how to promote WVA in a positive way, Great Job.

  • Andy

    Influx of dumb money, good for the casino.

  • Patchy

    Er, why doesn't a dome team practice - even for several weeks - in their dome?

    After all, half their games will be played there. State-specific learning and all that. 72 degrees year round.

    Sean Payton's company-man 'endorsement' is as laughable as it is half-hearted. These poor buggers spend enough time away from home as it is.

    Can we ever have such an action without the ritual circle of back-patting by high-level politicians and their supporters? Was the Speaker of the House, for example, REALLY a key player? Can he name a single Saints player other than Drew Brees?

    • w hoh

      Because they need multiple fields due to the number of players in a training camp. Sometimes as many as 150.

  • Robert

    Someone is going to have to explain to me how this is some great thing economically. I don't see a lot of jobs being created either by the Greenbrier or the surrounding community nor how this fits with a "resort".

    To me it's at best a novelty, a "getting to hang with the cool kids for the day" event, more than anything else.

    I also have concerns with the direction the Greenbrier might be headed, eg a planned community ala Charles Point with residential development, shopping centers, medical facilities, et al or worse and upscale Dollywood with the Grand Dame crammed in the middle of it. My understanding is that the training facility is being built directly across from the main building ... not really something that's going to add to the aesthetics of the viewshed.

    Time will tell.

    • keith

      Its the revenue that they will generate in the entire cocommunity and attention it brings to the state. This is a very special and loved football teams by millions in the world.People who have nevet heard of WV. Will hear of them now

  • Rao

    Roses are red, Briers are green
    A Jim Justice comes along
    only in dreams.

    His chest is huge, but not big enough to hold all the medals he should be given.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Can't wait for the "Friends of Saints" plate for my pickup.

    It could cause a problem though with the more Protestant areas of the state.

    • keith

      I think this is a extremely good thing. If there aren't any Whodats is WV there will be this year. I spent a lot of time in WV, From Morgantown to Beckley ive been all over the state. It was one of my favorite places in the country to go to every other year for 10 years. The people are wonderful and we always felt like we were home. I hope they fall in love with our team and now for at least the next 3 years.WV will be our second home.

  • jay zoom

    maybe Oliver Luck can strike a deal to let the Mountaineer Football team practice with them and Mr. Payton can teach Dana the fundamentals of football. one thing for sure ban Oliver Luck from coming within 100 miles of the facility because the first thing he will do is look for a way to over ride the free admission and make a buck in the parking lot

  • Mister G!

    Justice is a joke.