Sports Venues Stay on Track, Caps Returning

| April 12, 2012 | 2 Comments

Sports Venue Funding Survives ‘Doomsday’ Budget

If any of you were following the hectic end to the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis you know it ended without a budget agreement.  In the ‘doomsday’ budget, the result of no agreement, massive cuts were made with the majority of them affecting the school system.  DC- and Baltimore-area delegates had a square-off as PG County officials wanted support for a new casino at National Harbor and Baltimore officials wanted $2.5 million for design funds for the convention center expansion and new arena.

At one point the funding for the convention/arena was pulled, but the Baltimore delegation pulled a power move.  They pulled their support for a gaming bill in PG County and immediately the funds were restored.

So what does this mean? I think it’s pretty apparent that this arena is going to happen soon.  Clearly Governor O’Malley and Baltimore politicians are heavily behind this project.  Here is an informative statement from Baltimore Business Journal.

The approval of the design money means Hackerman and the GBC can now talk seriously to potential investors about naming rights or concession agreements for the arena, Fry said. He also said the money now could signal an increased financial commitment from the state later on.

It’s hard to sign up vendors for a place that doesn’t exist, so therefore this arena is inevitable!

The soccer stadium effort also got a big boost as the state approved an $175,000 study.  The study will determine how much the 20,000-25,000 stadium will cost and will include a financing plan from the DC United ownership.  Reading between the lines here, if DC United is working with the state of Maryland on how to fund this stadium, I think the team is definitely coming to Baltimore.  DC has an awful history of getting sports venues built and the DC Council has been unwilling to help the United in any way.  Also, property is just too valuable in the District for a developer to build a soccer stadium and parking privately, so that is a longs shot as well. also see’s the July 28th English Premier League game between Liverpool and Tottenham as a huge domino in this development.  It appears Baltimore and Maryland are fully behind the move, but the United and MLS are still evaluating.  Here’s an article on how important it is for the future of Baltimore soccer to create a great environment at M&T Bank Stadium for the game.

Capitals Coming Back to Baltimore  

This season the Capitals played a preseason exhibition game in Baltimore titled the Baltimore Hockey Classic and it appears it will be an annual game.  Baltimore Business Journal is reporting that the Caps are headed back for a September 27th exhibition with the Columbus Blue Jackets.  The event last year sold out the 12,000-seat First Mariner Arena.

This development is certainly a window into what is possible when the new arena becomes a reality.  Ted Leonsis, now the owner of the Capitals and Wizards, has always been a big fan of Baltimore.  He has taken out ads in the Baltimore Sun thanking Baltimore Caps fans and even hired a Baltimore native on the Real World DC to help with the marketing of the Caps in Baltimore.  For many years the Bullets continued to play games in Baltimore after moving to Landover, but definitely not any time recently or while having the name Wizards.

Past owner of both teams, Abe Pollin was Mr. DC, but clearly Leonsis has an affection for Baltimore.  So when this new arena is built I think we’ll see some regular season games in Baltimore for both teams.


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