Sign on the campus of St. John Fisher College, September 2011. Photo by Shaun Clare for BuffaloRumblings.com.
The Buffalo Bills are set to return to their training camp home base on the campus of St. John Fisher College outside Rochester, NY, in Pittsford next week, and I thought it would be interesting to talk about how the location of the training camp affects the team's regionally-minded business plan and perhaps the Bills' mojo as well.
Pittsford, home to Abby Wambach, two colleges, four country clubs (easily visible when one Google maps "St. John Fisher"), and perhaps the world's most grandest Wegmans, is something of an odd location for football training camp.
But it's actually a pretty smart place for the Bills to hold camp. Most obviously, by holding camp in Pittsford the team gets to stake a claim on the Rochester market, which, compared to Buffalo, has a much a stronger corporate base. The Bills physically being there for three weeks can only help to foster allegiances among those Rochesterians who don't entirely identify with the Bills as being "their" team.
Along those lines, I have to think that the choice for Pittsford is strategic on several levels. Not only does it tap roots into the Rochester's corporate wells, but its placement about ten miles east of downtown along the 490 expressway encourages visitors from points east in territory traditionally allied to the Giants or Jets. With the Jets recently setting up camp two quick hours away from Pittsford in Cortland, the Bills' move to shore up their base in Central New York appears to be a pretty savvy move.
Of course, the placement of training camp on the eastern edge of Monroe County doesn't favor Buffalo-based fans, but I doubt that this hurts the Bills much, if at all. Bills fans have proven that they'll support their team even if they play a 'home' game in a foreign country every now and then. From Buffalo, it's at most a 30-minute difference in travel time between Pittsford and the Bills' former camp home in Fredonia.
Speaking of Fredonia, the last time the Bills held camp at Fredonia was in 1999, coincidentally the last year they made the playoffs. You have to think if the superstitions that hold players and coaches in pro sports under spells were also relevant to sports management, the Bills might try to shake things up a bit. Nazareth College: are you listening?
What does everyone here (especially those who have been there in person) think of Pittsford, and Fisher, as the Bills' training camp location?