With both sides seeking a long-term lease, the Baltimore Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority are still discussing Oriole Park renovations that would commit the team to Camden Yards for decades.
The two sides share a vision of a renovation Oriole Park featuring new social spaces, new smaller group seating areas and a sportsbook. And the two sides have had plenty of time to talk about the upgrades: the original Oriole Park lease was extended from 2021 to Dec. 31, 2023, and potentially long with the Orioles holding a potential five-year extension pushing the end date to February 1, 2028.
But there are plenty of issues. First, it looks like state funding will be needed to finance these upgrades. Second, there’s concern about the future of team ownership: Peter Angelos is now 92 and still leads the limited partnership controlling the team, with son John Angelos the MLB control person. The fear is that if the team is sold without a new lease worked out, a new owner could buy the team and move it to a new market. (Whether MLB approves such a purchase is another issue, of course; at a time many in the industry expect expansion before the end of the decade, MLB might not like seeing a potential expansion market lost.) From the Baltimore Sun:
John Angelos has said his family has long been devoted to Baltimore, and he and others have sought to assure fans that the franchise intends to stay.
“The good news is both the Orioles and the stadium authority feel very strongly that we want to renew this partnership and that it’s been beneficial for all parties — the state, the city, the team,” said Greg Bader, the team’s senior vice president of administration and experience….
The team and MSA have also spoken publicly about their hopes of capitalizing on the stadium’s popularity by using it increasingly for non-baseball activities such as music or other year-round activities. “We’re now in a position where Camden Yards is still significantly lacking what a lot of newer or renovated ballparks have in terms of those social spaces, those areas for people to engage with baseball the way that people do today,” Bader said. “We’re not looking to upend the traditional side of a baseball park. We’re very confident that what makes Camden Yards so special would be able to be retained with whatever we do,” he said.
We’re assuming a renovation of this magnitude will require plenty of negotiations both on the budgeting side and the political side–and that’s a situation where things never move fast enough for fans. Still, after a few years of talks, you’d expect more progress than we’re currently seeing.
RELATED STORIES: Orioles, MSA extend Oriole Park lease through 2023; Future of Orioles ownership in transitional time; Orioles, stadium authority negotiating new Oriole Park lease; Baltimore Orioles Planning Oriole Park Future