BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are staying in Baltimore for the long term.
During Thursday night’s home game vs. the Red Sox, the Orioles announced that the team, the State of Maryland, Governor Wes Moore and the Maryland Stadium Authority have agreed to a deal -- later identified by the Governor's office as a memorandum of understanding -- that will allow the team to continue to play at Camden Yards for at least the next 30 years. The current lease is set to expire on Dec. 31.
After the third inning, the team announced the news with a message on the center-field scoreboard. Both Moore and Orioles chairman/CEO John Angelos were in attendance, seated together in the owners’ suite, and shown celebrating the deal that will help keep the franchise in Baltimore -- where it has been located since 1954 -- for the foreseeable future.
“We had three goals in 2019 when we organized the Orioles management team,” Angelos said in a statement. “We set out to remake the Club to be a consistently competitive winner on the field, and to create a strong business and fiscal foundation to be able to do so at the highest level to sustain that competitiveness -- and to completely reinvent and extend the Orioles’ partnership with the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland for the next three decades to ensure that the O’s would be in Baltimore up to and through our 100th anniversary. We have been very fortunate that we have achieved all of these goals.”
The team announced more details on Friday, detailing that the deal "brings with it the opportunity to reimagine the land surrounding the ballpark," in addition to modernizing and upgrading certain areas of Camden Yards. The partnership with the State of Maryland also includes a 99-year ground lease on certain areas around the ballpark north of Lee Street, including the iconic B&O Warehouse and Camden Station.
"The Baltimore Orioles are an institution and an irreplaceable member of the collective family that makes up Charm City," Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement. "I am extremely pleased that under this agreement, they will continue to call Oriole Park at Camden Yards -- the ballpark that forever changed baseball -- home for another generation.
"I want to thank John Angelos and the entire Orioles organization for continuing to be a team not only in Baltimore, but of Baltimore. I also want to thank Governor Moore, Maryland Stadium Authority Chair Craig Thompson and the entire team at the state for their great work ensuring our Orioles remain in Baltimore. I look forward to working with them and all of our partners as we embark on the next steps to modernize Oriole Park and the surrounding area into the best version of itself."
Since February, Angelos had repeatedly expressed confidence that a new agreement would be signed before the current deal expired. The Orioles and Moore put out a joint statement in Spring Training stating their commitment to creating a “long-term, multi-decade, public-private partnership” with the Maryland Stadium Authority for Camden Yards, which opened in 1992.
Before Moore visited Sarasota, Fla., during Orioles Spring Training, he and Angelos visited The Battery in Atlanta, a 2.25 million-square-foot mixed-use development adjacent to the Braves’ Truist Park. Their hope is to create a similar “live, work, play 365” component to the area surrounding Camden Yards in downtown Baltimore.
Angelos initially said he hoped a new agreement would be signed by July, calling it a potential “All-Star break gift” for the city. It may have taken a little longer, but it came on a special night in Baltimore, as the O’s went on to clinch their first American League East title since 2014 with a 2-0 victory over the Red Sox -- their 100th win of the season.
The large crowd in attendance, all hoping to see Baltimore crowned division champions, roared in approval upon the announcement of the new deal.
“I could not be more thrilled to spend decades watching the Orioles win titles in Baltimore,” Moore said in a statement. “This deal is not only a good use of state resources but will also drive economic growth in downtown and across the city. Today, we take a big step toward a more vibrant and thriving Baltimore–with good-paying jobs, a diversified economy, and opportunity for all. This deal is good for the city and the state, and I’m grateful for the partnership that got us to this day. The Baltimore renaissance is here."
A new Camden Yards lease will unlock $600 million to fund upgrades to the ballpark, due to legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2022.
During Spring Training, Angelos said the plan for those assets would be to upgrade behind-the-scenes components (such as boilers and air conditioning), amenities and seating.
Angelos also expressed a desire to upgrade the audio/video systems and scoreboards, as the current ones at Camden Yards were installed in 2008 and are only the second set in the ballpark’s 31-year history.