Soccer Match Creates Great Environment in South Baltimore

| July 30, 2012 | 6 Comments

On Saturday I made it down to M&T Bank Stadium for the soccer match featuring Liverpool and Tottenham – of course checking out everything going on in South Baltimore and Federal Hill along the way!  With the combination of Otakon at the convention center, this game provided an enormous economic impact for downtown that was likely only topped this summer by the Sailabration.  Not only was it great for downtown, but it also provided some incredible people watching between all of the soccer fans as well as all of the costumes that Otakon delivers.

South Baltimore was a sea of red on Saturday Morning.  My first stop was at No Idea where their bar and block party was filled to capacity with Liverpool supporters – there was even a one-in-one-out line to enter the block party. Many attendees – from states around the country and abroad – were wearing Baltimore Reds shirts that said I Heart B’more with the heart replaced by a Liverpool logo.

As I made my way towards Cross St., several other bars were filled with Liverpool supporters and red jerseys were seen throughout the streets.

Once I reached Cross St., the Tottenham fans began their march from Ryleighs to M&T Bank Stadium.  The white-shirted, 100+ fans were carrying flags and chanting as they made their way to see their favorite team from North London play.

Then I stopped in for a drink at Cross Street Market, which was bustling but not overwhelmingly crowded… a common scene during sporting events for the 167-year-old market.  For every 20 Liverpool jerseys there was probably one Tottenham jersey. It was apparent early that Liverpool has a much larger following in the states.

On a side note, one confusing thing to me about soccer jerseys is the large sponsor logo across the chest overshadowing a small team logo for the football club.  Sometimes you had to look closely because two of the most popular teams in England, Arsenal and Manchester United, also wear red and rotate sponsors.  Some Arsenal and Man U jerseys were mixed in but the Liverpool jerseys could be picked out if you saw the old Carlsberg sponsor or the new Standard Chartered jersey.

I made my way to the stadium and strangely enough the best parking spots were empty yet people were pouring into the area.  I’m sure there were much cheaper parking lots in the area than the main ones at M&T Bank Stadium.

Inside the stadium, the crowd of 42,723 filled the lower bowl, a good percentage of the club level and portions of the upper deck.  Red was the predominant color in the stadium, which created a virtual home game for Liverpool.  There was a lot of great fans and I heard several different British accents in my section. The game on the field though (at least to just a spectator as myself) was a bit lackluster.  A 0-0 tie in 100 degree whether is not exactly what is going to turn a casual fan into an avid fan.  There were a couple attempts at goals and the crowd got excited when team England members Steven Gerrard and Andy Carroll entered the game for Liverpool.

Though it was HOT and the game was a bit disappointing, the fanfare around the event was very cool and it was a tremendous event for Baltimore.  I understand the Tottenham connection with Baltimore because of Under Armour, but it sure would be nice to see two teams with a solid American following to play in Balitmore.  We saw a sellout crowd for AC Milan vs. Chelsea in 2009, so it would be nice to see a team like Man U, Arsenal or a popular Mexican club like Pumas or Club America play one of the clubs that have already proven to have a following in this region.

Overall it was a great event for Baltimore and one of the highest attended international soccer games in the United States this summer.  Hopefully we’ll see many more in the future!

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Founder and Publisher of, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.