The Baltimore Orioles and Governor of Maryland Wes Moore have announced a joint commitment to develop and revitalise the Camden Yards complex, which houses the Major League Baseball team’s ballpark as well as the home stadium of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
The Orioles and Governor Moore have pledged to create a long-term, multi-decade, public-private partnership to transform the complex into a magnet for sports tourism that leverages Maryland taxpayers’ investment in the property.
The announcement was made yesterday (Wednesday), on the same day that a deadline passed for the Orioles to exercise a five-year extension to a lease deal to play at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The Associated Press news agency has reported that the team was not planning to exercise this option, meaning that the lease will expire at the end of 2023. Yesterday’s announcement does however suggest that the team is keen to remain at Camden Yards on a long-term basis.
The Orioles have played at Oriole Park since the stadium opened in 1992. Under legislation passed by the General Assembly last year, a new lease agreement will unlock $600m (£486m/€546m) in funding for upgrades and improvements to the stadium.
The Orioles said the team will continue to dedicate the necessary time and resources to ensure a shared vision for a reimagined Camden Yards site and revitalised surrounding area.
The complex is poised for a major overhaul after the Orioles announced a $1.2bn commitment from Maryland authorities last April. In an open letter to the team’s fans, Orioles chairman and chief executive John Angelos disclosed the state legislature had approved public funding for reinvestment in the complex, which also houses the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium.
Speaking following yesterday’s announcement, Angelos said: “I am looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Governor Moore, his administration, and the Maryland Stadium Authority in order to bring to Baltimore the modern, sustainable, and electrifying sports and entertainment destination the State of Maryland deserves.
“We greatly appreciate Governor Moore’s vision and commitment as we seize the tremendous opportunity to redefine the paradigm of what a Major League Baseball venue represents and thereby revitalise downtown Baltimore.
“It is my hope and expectation that, together with Governor Moore and the new members and new chairman of the MSA board, we can again fully realise the potential of Camden Yards to serve as a catalyst for Baltimore’s second renaissance.”
Governor Moore added: “When Camden Yards opened 30 years ago, the Baltimore Orioles revolutionised baseball and set the bar for the fan experience.
“We share the commitment of the Orioles organisation to ensuring that the team is playing in a world-class facility at Camden Yards for decades to come and are excited to advance our public-private partnership. We look forward to writing the next chapter of Major League Baseball in Maryland as we continue to make magic for fans and meaningful investment for communities across our state.”