In three of the last five years, the Dallas Cowboys have split training camp between the Alamodome in San Antonio and Oxnard, Calif. Dallas team owner and general manager Jerry Jones has said publicly on multiple occasions that he wants to continue to hold half of training camp in Oxnard, but apparently that is not the case anymore. The NFL lockout also played a factor in Jones’ decision to keep camp solely at the Alamodome.
Unlike Oxnard, the Cowboys have one year left on the five-year deal between the team and the city of San Antonio. The deal allows the Cowboys to use the Alamodome rent-free, which they will do for the entirety of training camp in 2011, granted the lockout does not interrupt.
Jones has enjoyed having his team spend time in Oxnard, just an hour north of Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest media market. The outspoken Dallas owner likes the exposure of his team on the national scale and also the historical aspect that Oxnard has with the Cowboys; it is the site where the team held training camp when the legendary Tom Landry coached America’s Team.
Michael Sawaya is the City of San Antonio’s director of convention, sports and entertainment facilities. He references the Cowboys’ popularity in the city; over 200,000 fans attended last year’s camp.
“If there is a season and there is a camp, they are going to be here for the whole camp,” Sawaya said. “They won’t be splitting camp like they did last year. The Boys will be at home. They will be in San Antonio.”
The Cowboys will indeed be in San Antonio, but may really be “at home” if the lockout prevents teams from holding their typical training camps. Currently, the Cowboys are planning to hold camp from late July to mid-August in the Alamodome, but may only hold a miniaturized training camp at Valley Ranch if the lockout interferes with training camp.
“We are holding open dates consistent with what we have done in the past for training camp,” Sawaya said. “The longer they are here, the better it is for our community. We are excited about this.”
With the Cowboys not playing any preseason games west of Arlington, it makes sense the team would stay put in the Central Time Zone. On Tuesday, Dallas released its preseason schedule, which includes two home games and road trips to Minnesota and Miami. Barring an interruption from the lockout, the Cowboys will practice on artificial turf in the Alamodome for all of training camp in 2011.