Saints announce 2024 training camp will be held at UC-Irvine

As had been previously reported, the New Orleans Saints will take their 2024 training camp on the road this summer. Construction on a new team cafeteria at their headquarters in Metairie will make it difficult for 90 players and a full coaching staff to work at the facility — not to mention all of the athletic trainers and support staff.

So, the Saints announced Friday, they’ll be holding training camp at UC-Irvine in Southern California through July and August. Here’s what general manager Mickey Loomis shared in a team statement:

Currently, Mrs. Benson and our organization have invested in the construction of a new cafeteria, that when completed, will be among the finest in the National Football League. The scope of this project makes it difficult to host training camp on-site in 2024, given the extensive needs for our team to prepare for the regular season. We appreciate the outstanding support we have received from our great fans at training camp. We are thankful to be able to come to an agreement with the University of California, Irvine to host training camp, providing us with exceptional fields and facilities that are critical to our football team receiving the necessary work in preparation for the 2024 season.

UC-Irvine has hosted the Los Angeles Rams for their training camp from 2016 to 2023 (except for the COVID-19 pandemic-afflicted 2020 offseason), so this is nothing new to the university’s athletics department. Their 12-acre facilities and practice fields are well-suited to hosting NFL teams.

Still, it’s disappointing to see the Saints moving so far away from their fanbase in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast at large. At a time when Loomis is facing increasing scrutiny for his decisions in hiring Dennis Allen and recruiting Derek Carr while playing fast and loose with important draft picks, choosing to move the largest free-to-attend event for fans across the country doesn’t send a positive message (intended or not).

Hopefully the Saints can make up for it with some open practices at the team facility once construction wraps up or inside the Caesars Superdome upon their return. The team’s training camp schedule will be announced at a later date, but it remains to be seen whether fans in California will be allowed to attend practices. The Rams welcomed their supporters when conducting camp at this same campus, so hopefully the Saints will do the same.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire