Baltimore’s iconic pair of sports venues within the Inner Harbor area are in need of upgrades, the Maryland Stadium Authority says, leading to the organization seeking state legislative approval to borrow up to $1.2 billion to pay for improvements to Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium.
The Baltimore Sun reported the request on Thursday as the MSA is in talks with both the Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens to extend the teams’ leases at their respective stadiums. M&T Bank Stadium is also a candidate to host games for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
“The longer we can extend the life of these stadiums, the better it is for Baltimore City, Maryland and the teams,” Thomas Kelso, the authority’s chairman, told The Baltimore Sun. “The way people watch sports continues to morph from more traditional ‘buy a ticket and sit in a seat’ to something that’s completely different. And our teams need to have that flexibility.”
The Orioles have played at Camden Yards for 30 years and the lease to continue at the stadium goes through December 31, 2023. The Ravens lease at M&T Bank Stadium goes through the 2027 season.
The Sun reported that a bill drafted by the stadium authority to be introduced in the Maryland House of Delegates would increase the allowable bond debt for stadium projects from $235 million to $1.2 billion. Debt service on the bonds would be covered by an increase in the amount of state lottery proceeds that can be used to pay the debt service, with both the Orioles and Ravens required to sign a lease long enough to pay off the bonds.
The MSA is also proposing a $200 million fund for minor league stadium improvements throughout the state with proceeds from the state lottery paying the debt service on bonds to finance projects. The Sun reported that the legislation was also drafted by stadium authority and could be introduced in the near future.