Orioles Want To Stay In Baltimore, Seek Longer Lease At Camden Yards

Written By T.J. McBride on February 6, 2023
Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Despite an agreement last week between the Baltimore Orioles and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore to renovate the area around the iconic Camden Yards stadium, the team rejected the five-year lease extension offered by the Maryland Stadium Authority. Instead, the team is seeking a 10- to 15-year lease and a more comprehensive stadium agreement. 

A longer lease gives the team access to a $600 million loan from the state to renovate Camden Yards. It’s also the same type of loan the Baltimore Ravens utilized to upgrade M&T Banks Stadium.

Baltimore Orioles seek longer lease at Camden Yards

With seven online sportsbooks and 10 retail sportsbooks now available, bettors can participate in Maryland sports betting from various venues across the state. This includes the newest Fanatics Sportsbook retail location at FedEx Field, home of the NFL’s Washington Commanders.

Superbook Sports, which partnered with the Orioles last year, looks to be the next operator to debut in a Maryland stadium, as it pursues a license to offer sports betting at Camden Yards.

Meanwhile, negotiations on the Orioles’ Camden Yards lease extension will likely continue for the next couple months. Ideally, the team looks to have a deal in place before the MLB All-star game on July 11. Their current lease expires at the end of the year.

The Orioles, with a record of 83-79 last year, are trending up. The team is led by American League Manager of the Year Brandon Hyde and boasts a swath of talented young prospects. Despite that, the Orioles ranked 23rd in attendance in the MLB last season. Just 17,543 fans on average went to each game at Camden Yards.

What could happen without Camden Yards lease agreement?

Considering Baltimore lost the NFL’s Colts to Indianapolis in the 1980s, losing another professional sports team would be horrifying. Even the Orioles were formerly the St. Louis Browns before moving to Baltimore due to poor attendance, a losing record and the Cardinals owning the market.

The most common justification for moving a professional sports team is because of a lack of ticket sales or a crumbling ballpark — or both. The Orioles could begin to solve those issues with a loan from the state to renovate Camden Yards.

If not, they may look for a new home arena that fits their needs, in Maryland or elsewhere. Right now, there are a handful of cities looking to house an MLB team. The cities of Nashville in Tennessee, New Orleans in Louisiana, Buffalo in New York, and Montreal and Vancouver in Canada are all in the hunt to add a professional baseball team.

The Orioles say they expect to stay at Camden Yards. But the nuclear option always remains. With spring training a couple weeks away and the team in the final year of its lease, it’s understandable for fans to be somewhat stressed about their team.

Orioles CEO John Angelos said about selling the team, “We are not going anywhere.”

Before rejecting lease extension, Baltimore made commitment with governor

One day before the Orioles rejected the lease extension, Moore said a new commitment was forged between the state and the team to revitalize and rejuvenate the Camden Yards Complex around the stadium.

It’s a long-term deal between private and public sectors to fully develop the area to make it a hub for locals and tourists alike. 

Moore told CBS Baltimore the agreement represents an investment in the Orioles and the city of Baltimore.

“When Camden Yards opened 30 years ago, the Baltimore Orioles revolutionized baseball and set the bar for the fan experience. We share the commitment of the Orioles organization 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.”

Angelos echoed those comments.

“I am looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Gov. 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 Gov. 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 revitalize downtown Baltimore.

“It is my hope and expectation that, together with Gov. Moore and the new members and new chairman of the MSA board, we can again fully realize the potential of Camden Yards to serve as a catalyst for Baltimore’s second renaissance.”

Orioles ownership struggles could be a factor

There is still one hurdle that could become problematic in the future. While all of these discussions are taking place around the Orioles, there is an internal battle among the Angelos family. John is currently in legal battle to take control of two of his father’s assets: the Orioles and Angelos Law Firm.

Peter Angelos – the father of John – is the majority owner of the Orioles, but he is in bad health. He collapsed in 2017 and is suffering from advanced-stage dementia, according to CBS Baltimore. John has accused his brother and mother of draining in excess of $65 million from his father’s bank account.

Superbook Sports foresees longtime partnership with Orioles

Superbook Sports is also a player in all this. The company has big plans for its prospective sportsbook at Camden Yards. Plans call for a lounge featuring a restaurant and bar.

T.J. Brightman, Orioles senior vice president and chief revenue officer, said the partnership will enhance fan experience and attract new visitors.

“The Orioles are thrilled to partner with SuperBook to enhance our gameday experience with the introduction of their first-ever on-premise sports lounge. While our organization is striving to build the next World Series contender in Charm City, we are constantly exploring unique opportunities to engage with Birdland’s diverse fanbase and welcome new visitors to downtown Baltimore. The addition of a SuperBook sportsbook only reinforces our iconic ballpark’s standing as one of the premier entertainment destinations in the region.”

Kristin Mackey, SuperBook Sports vice president of marketing, agreed with Brightman, saying the partnership is a win-win.

“SuperBook Sports is excited about this partnership with the Baltimore Orioles. The heritage and tradition of the Orioles brand fits perfectly with the SuperBook brand. To be a part of ‘The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball’ is an honor, and we look forward to bringing a one-of-a-kind sports lounge experience to fans. The future of the Orioles is bright, and we look forward to continuing to grow together for years to come.”

SuperBook Sports launched in 1986 in Las Vegas and has 35 years of experience in the gambling and gaming industry. It touts itself as the “go-to source for leading sports media outlets, other bookmakers and a favorite place to wager for both novice and knowledgeable bettors alike.”

Photo by Shutterstock
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T.J. McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver, Colorado who covers the Denver Nuggets as a beat writer. His byline can be found across many websites such as ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report, and others.

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