PHILADELPHIA - Eagles fans apparently cannot wait to get a glimpse of their favorite team.
Team president Don Smolenski said Thursday that more than 200,000 tickets had been reserved for the five open practices the Eagles will conduct at Lincoln Financial Field during training camp. The workouts will be held at 12:30 p.m. on July 28, Aug. 5, Aug. 11, Aug. 17 and Aug. 26.
"We're very excited," Smolenski said during a press gathering at the NovaCare Complex. "And the attendance numbers continue to grow."
The Eagles will hold training camp at the NovaCare Complex and the Linc this season under new coach Chip Kelly after a 17-year stint at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., during which they averaged around 6,000 fans per day.
Rookies are required to report Monday to the NovaCare Complex, followed by the rest of the team Thursday. Kelly's first practice of camp will be held at NovaCare next Friday.
They are now part of a growing trend in the NFL. The Eagles are among 19 teams scheduled to conduct their training camps this summer at their permanent practice facilities and/or stadiums.
"I just think we have everything here, so packing everything up and moving didn't make sense to me," Kelly said last month. "All our video stuff is here. Our servers are here. You're dealing with portable laptops and hoping you can get practice on it. You have issues when it rains (at Lehigh). Where do you go? Why would you move everything to go somewhere else?"
The Eagles are using both of their Philadelphia venues. In addition to the free, public practices at the Linc, they will hold daily workouts on the practice fields at the NovaCare Complex, albeit in front of much smaller crowds.
About 300 to 400 people will watch practices there, including 50 season-ticket holders randomly selected from each section of the stadium.
"Practices here will be very intimate," Smolenski said.
The Eagles already have made adjustments at NovaCare to accommodate media and fans. The two practice fields have been rearranged to face perpendicular to Broad Street instead of parallel. Fences rimming the fields now feature corporate logos from companies such as Dietz & Watson, Xfinity and Verizon Wireless.
Much of the fan attention will be centered on the practices at the Linc, however. Parking will be free with the parking lots opening at 9:30 a.m. Headhouse Plaza will open at 10:30 a.m. and feature a number of fan-oriented activities such as music, face-painting artists and appearances by the team's cheerleaders.
Every fan will receive a scratch-off ticket upon entering the stadium and those who hold "winning" tickets will be able to obtain player autographs. In addition, fans ages 14-and-under will have the opportunity to go onto the field and catch a pass from a former player.
"We thought about the fan experience from every aspect," Smolenski said. "We didn't know what to expect as far as tickets to the stadium practices and we're excited to see it growing on a daily basis."
Fans will be treated to a much different experience than what they saw at Lehigh under former coach Andy Reid.
Kelly's offseason workouts featured almost non-stop music blaring from loudspeakers. Drills and plays were run at a very fast pace. And those elements will be continued during training camp.
"(Players) just have to learn to block (the music) out," Kelly said. "It's like crowd noise. It kind of grates on you a little bit, but you learn how to perform when you're not paying attention to anything else except for your task."
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