(The Center Square) – With $1.2 billion on the table, the Maryland Stadium Authority continues to work closely with the state’s two professional sports teams on new leases.
The Maryland Stadium Authority said it continues to have discussions surrounding leases with Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles and the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens for agreements that would keep each team in Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, respectively.
The authority, according to a release, said that while it can’t comment publicly on the status of the negotiations on new leases with both teams, which are happening concurrently, it will work to keep the public informed.
“MSA fully recognizes that discussing new agreements with both the Orioles and the Ravens simultaneously presents a once in a generation opportunity to upgrade and redevelop the Camden Yards Sports Complex holistically,” the authority said in the release. “MSA understands and appreciates the public interest as the MSA and these beloved teams work to renew their strong commitments to the State of Maryland and the City of Baltimore.
“While we cannot comment publicly on the ongoing discussions and negotiations, MSA, together with each team, promises to inform the citizens and taxpayers of Maryland when each agreement is completed and presented for approval.”
At stake, pending each team signing new long-term leases to remain in Baltimore, is $1.2 billion – $600 million for each franchise – the authority lobbied for with the Maryland General Assembly earlier this year that would be used to make improvements in and around each stadium to bolster fan experience.
House Bill 896 provides funding that would be used for immediate and longer-term needs and the future of each stadium, which are situated near the city’s Inner Harbor.
The authority said in the release it was “delighted” that John Angelos, chairman and chief executive officer of the Orioles, said he wants to team to remain in the Charm city, and the Ravens, according to the release, have also expressed interest in remaining in the city.
In April, Tom Kelso, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, in an exclusive interview with The Center Square, said he viewed the bills “as evergreen.”
“We don’t anticipate spending $600 million at one time on either stadium,” Kelso said at the time. “You would get to that level as projects are conceived, developed, and built, but it would take a number of years of upgrading and reinvesting. In a larger concept, reinventing portions of the stadium. Every time there is a new bond issue the lease would have to be extended to last as long as the bond for the most recent project.
“It is not a one-time, $1.2 billion expense. It allows the stadium authority to borrow up to $1.2 million. As those bonds are paid down, it creates the capacity to borrow back again.”