Baltimore targeting new soccer stadium

Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) is set to explore the possibility of developing a new soccer stadium in Baltimore.

Baltimore’s Mayor, Brandon Scott, has requested a feasibility study into the project, with the MSA yesterday (Tuesday) voting 4-0 in favour of proceeding, according to the Baltimore Fish Bowl website.

While a specific site has not been pinpointed for what would be a 10,000-seat stadium, Al Tyler, vice-president for the MSA’s Capital Projects Development Group, said Scott (pictured) had requested that Port Covington be considered.

“The stadium will host an organisation by the name of Right To Dream as its primary tenant,” said Tyler. “Right to Dream follows an academy-style model that uses soccer as a means to provide educational and athletic opportunity to under-privileged children.

“The other thing that the stadium is envisioned to host is a men’s and a women’s… professional team that Right to Dream has the exclusive rights to operate.”

Tyler explained that the City of Baltimore and Right to Dream envision that the stadium be publicly funded and owned and operated by MSA, with the associated residential and academic buildings privately funded.

He continued: “This study includes a market and research analysis related to professional soccer and the USL (United Soccer League) in Baltimore to see what that activity would generate as well as what any other sort of multi-use, multi-purpose activity would generate in Baltimore, as well as an operational and economic impact analysis from owning and operating a new stadium in the city of Baltimore.”

Port Covington is a former industrial area in south Baltimore that is currently being redeveloped into a mixed-use community. The Fish Bowl said the largest single parcel is a 235-acre plot with some land already being targeted for recreational and open space.

Regarding Port Covington and the feasibility study, Tyler added: “It’s not otherwise site-specific. There is a potential site that the Right to Dream and City of Baltimore folks are talking to Port Covington about. However, this is a non site-specific, other than the City of Baltimore, effort.”

Baltimore is currently the setting for a number of stadium and arena projects. Venue development, advisory, and investment company Oak View Group (OVG) last month officially commenced work on the $200m (£168.2m/€196.4m) redevelopment of Baltimore Arena, with US rapper and record producer Pharrell Williams signing on as the latest partner for the project.

The venture aims to transform the 60-year-old city-owned arena into a new multi-purpose, state-of-the-art entertainment and sports venue.

Meanwhile, Camden Yards Sports Complex is set for a major overhaul after the Baltimore Orioles in April announced a $1.2bn commitment from Maryland authorities.

In an open letter to the Major League Baseball (MLB) team’s fans, Orioles chairman John Angelos announced the state legislature had approved more than $1bn of public funding for “reinvestment in and reimagination of” the complex, which features the O’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the Baltimore Ravens National Football League (NFL) team’s M&T Bank Stadium.

Image: City of Baltimore