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Politics

Maryland board approves Ravens’ lease extension for at least 15 more seasons at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore

The Ravens received final approval Wednesday to extend their lease of M&T Bank Stadium for 15 more seasons, through 2037, and potentially through the 2047 season.

Though the current lease’s expiration date is nearly five years away, the new contract was negotiated with the team’s landlord, the Maryland Stadium Authority, with the expectation that the Ravens soon would begin requesting bonds to renovate the stadium.

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Ravens President Sashi Brown attended a meeting Wednesday of the state Board of Public Works, which approved the deal. He said the team is committed to enhancing fans’ experience and investing in Baltimore and Maryland. He said the team was not ready to announce specific renovation details, but most of them should be complete for the 2024 season.

“We want to make sure that we continue to be that beacon for the community and beyond,” Brown said in an interview after the board’s vote. “What we do on the field also invests off the field, which we’ve done — tens of millions of dollars invested in the greater Baltimore community. So I think that’s what the community is getting. It’s incredibly important and vital for the Ravens. It’s a core part of our mission to be a good steward, not only just a great football team on the field, which we’ve been, but also a good steward of the community in Maryland as a whole.”

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Ravens President Sashi Brown talks at the State House after the Board of Public Works approved the team’s extended lease on M&T Bank Stadium.

Under the terms of the agreement, the team will not pay rent, but it will continue to pay operations and maintenance costs. The organization will keep revenue from the stadium except in limited cases. After the 2037 season, the team will have two five-year options to extend.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot, in their final meeting as members of the state’s powerful contract-granting board, joined Democratic Treasurer Derrick Davis in giving unanimous consent to the lease.

“This is an exciting day for the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland,” said Hogan, highlighting the “economic impact of games and other year-round activities at the stadium.”

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Hogan and state lawmakers agreed last year to authorize the stadium authority to borrow up to $1.2 billion, split evenly between the Ravens’ home and that of the Orioles, Camden Yards, for improvements to the stadiums.

Fans tailgate Sunday before the final regular season home game at M&T Bank Stadium as Baltimore hosted Pittsburgh.

Asked by Franchot what the state gets in return for the investments, Stadium Authority Chairman Thomas Kelso said Wednesday that the city and state will benefit from “ancillary revenues generated by the team and also the benefits of having a major civic-minded organization like the Ravens in our local communities.”

Kelso said the deal also allows the revenue from the admissions and amusement tax, which he said brought in $7.3 million in 2022, to continue to grow while encouraging the Ravens to hold more non-football events, which create revenues the stadium authority is able to collect.

The authority has, however, opted in the past to give the Ravens and the Orioles revenue generated from other events at their stadiums, such as last year’s Paul McCartney concert at Camden Yards and the Arsenal vs. Everton soccer match at M&T.

Davis has been critical of those arrangements, which the stadium authority has said incentivizes teams to host similar events.

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But Davis said Wednesday he supported the Ravens’ extended lease because they’ve “been good neighbors, good corporate partners” and because the authority’s mission was to keep the team in the state.

“I see them as more a source for civic pride, something that rallies all of us together … but the question that we’re going to have to ask ourselves, at some point, is ‘At what cost?’” he said, noting that the stadium will be roughly 40 years old by the time the new 15-year lease expires.


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