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December 3, 2008 > New pro football league chooses Casa Grande site

New pro football league chooses Casa Grande site

Submitted By AP Wire Service

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (AP), Nov 27 _ An upstart professional football league has chosen a site in Casa Grande for a $20 million training facility that will serve three of the league's six original teams.

The United Football League plans to break ground on the training site next to the Francisco Grande Hotel & Golf Resort in January. League officials said they plan to build eight playing fields, four field houses, locker rooms, a training and rehabilitation center, office space and other amenities.

The site is expected to be ready for the opening of the league's first training camp in late summer.

The facility could also be used by area athletic teams and other interests while not in full use by the UFL.

``I am very excited for our community, especially our youth, who will have the opportunity to attend and participate in sports clinics with world-class athletes from the UFL,'' Casa Grande Mayor Bob Jackson said this week.

The Francisco Grande site hosted professional sports teams starting in 1959, when Horace Stoneham developed the hotel as a spring training site for the San Francisco Giants. After the Giants moved, the California Angels used the facility from 1982 to 1984. Then the old USFL's Arizona Wranglers and the Denver Gold used the facility for two years.

``Casa Grande has a rich history with professional sports. It's a perfect venue, and it's a perfect fit for what we were looking for in terms of a training facility,'' UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue said. ``To us, it made sense to have multiple teams at one training site. They'll be able to scrimmage and practice against each other, and this way it gives the fans a closer perspective to what professional football is all about.''

The six teams in the inaugural 2009 season will play on Thursday and Friday nights during the fall. The three Western U.S. teams will train at the Casa Grande complex, while the three East Coast teams will train at an unannounced site.

The UFL plans a news conference on Dec. 1 to announce franchise locations and other details about the league.

The league was founded by Wall Street investor Bill Hambrecht. Hambrecht and Tim Armstrong, vice president of Google Inc., are the primary investors in the UFL.

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Information from: Casa Grande Dispatch

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