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5. Somebody should be looking into the possibility of a Baltimore Super Bowl.
Let's start by remembering that the city's most recent foray into big-time sports resulted in the financial mess left by the Grand Prix, and that athletics at the highest level are as likely to drain a city's resources as they are to line its coffers (or help its less privileged by providing steady jobs). You need not go far to find cautionary tales; Indy, widely lauded for its Super Bowl party, hemorrhaged money as a result of the deal it cut with the Colts to build Lucas Oil Stadium. And economists have guessed that the windfall from the past two weeks will probably be about $150 million (consultants generally throw around numbers three or four times higher), a nice kick-start for the local economy but not anything nearing a long-term solution.
So the suggestion here is that someone in Baltimore take the time to really study the matter. If it ends up making financial sense, why wouldn't a city with rich football tradition want to host a sporting event of actual significance that people truly care about? (Sorry, Mario Andretti.) (And Michael.)
Baltimore has a modern stadium, a desirable location — visitors could take day trips to, or stay in, D.C. and Philadelphia — and at least some experience with large crowds (Grand Prix, Preakness, first week good crabs are available). I covered the Final Four in Indianapolis, and don't see any reason Baltimores downtown areas couldn't accommodate similar events.
Millions of dollars and untold hours have been spent by both private citizens and public officials trying to bring back what amounts to a novelty event — Oh! Race cars near the Hooters! — in the Grand Prix. Now that cold-weather Super Bowls aren't totally taboo — New York will host in two years — some enterprising citizen ought to dream a little dream about a night a few years down the line when all the world focuses on Baltimore.
August 13, 2009