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Plank, Leonsis and an arena — a relationship worth watching

As it gets accustomed to Baltimore, Monumental Sports & Entertainment has been talking to Under Armour.

Monumental is seeking a foothold in the city. The Washington-based sports group — best known for owning the NBA's Washington Wizards, NHL's Washington Capitals and the Verizon Center — is also the owner of the Baltimore Brigade, the Arena Football League franchise that began play last week.

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There is no official relationship between Monumental and Baltimore-based Under Armour, the apparel, footwear and fitness technology company. But Ted Leonsis, Monumental's chairman and founder, said recently that he expects partnerships to be explored.

Under Armour, Leonsis said, "is a very, very entrepreneurial company. My expectation is at some point somewhere we'll find something big and innovative to work on together."

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Leonsis and Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank have met many times. Both were involved in 2014 in an unsuccessful attempt to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to the National Capital Region. Last year, Leonsis helped launch the Greater Washington Partnership to get executives thinking more regionally in Maryland, Virginia and Washington. Plank is involved in that as well.

In March, Leonsis told executives at the CEO Club of Baltimore that Plank had long ago discussed Baltimore's need for a new indoor arena with him.

"Kevin is trying to support a rebirth of Baltimore," Leonsis said in an interview after his speech. "The city will deserve at some point either an upgrade to that existing arena or a new arena. When Kevin came to talk with me about it, I said I believe in regionalism."

Leonsis also said: "There's been lots of discussions from his real estate company. He said 'I'd like to build an arena one day.' I said, 'Fantastic. I only think that would be positive for the community.'"

The city and state have long discussed building a new arena to replace Royal Farms Arena, which opened in 1962 as the Baltimore Civic Center and is the home of the Brigade.

Asked for comment, Plank's real estate firm said a new arena is not in the works at Port Covington. That is where Under Armour's new headquarters is being built along with a multibillion-dollar mix of offices, residences, retail and parks.

"While we have explored many ideas for activation in Port Covington, the master plan does not currently include an arena," said Marc Weller, President of Sagamore Development Company.

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