The ice rink in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor might not return this winter as officials struggle to find a new lead sponsor, Waterfront Partnership officials said Thursday.
Pandora, the jewelry retailer known for its charm bracelets, notified the organization after the 2018-2019 season that it was unable to continue as lead sponsor of the rink, said Laurie Schwartz, president of the Waterfront Partnership, which organized the ice rink.
A spokeswoman for Pandora, whose North American headquarters are in Baltimore, said they “enjoyed our partnership with the Baltimore Inner Harbor ice rink and wish them success in this endeavor.”
After just five years, the rink has become something of a holiday tradition in the Inner Harbor, Schwartz said.
“The rink just brings a happy time in Baltimore for people,” she said. “You always see smiling faces and hear shrieks of laughter on the rink. You don’t see grumpy people on an ice rink. It’s extremely disappointing."
A lead sponsorship costs about $100,000 per season, though the Waterfront Partnership needs to raise $115,000 to operate the rink each year, Schwartz said.
“It’s not an insignificant cost,” she said. “We need a sponsor that can afford this kind of price tag.”
The partnership said it will not bring the ice rink back for the upcoming season if it cannot find a lead sponsor by Sept. 1.
“It would have been much easier to sell sponsorship to the rink while it was still open so they could see the visibility a sponsor could get from having a name associated with a rink and all the side benefits we can offer,” Schwartz said.
Partnership officials put out a call in April for a new lead sponsor. Since then, the organization said, it has had conversations with several interested parties, but a viable sponsor has not yet come forward.
The temporary rink opens in November and operates between the Harborplace pavilions in view of the water.