Baltimore has been a city that has been in need of a new arena for quite some time now.
Royal Farms Arena, built in 1962, has been outdated almost since its inception. The large stage sitting on one side of the floor, including non-spacious wooden seats on the upper levels and poor views have made the arena a poor place to watch an event.
Many music artists skip over Baltimore due to the lack of accommodations in the arena. It has scared away sporting events, save for the occasional CAA Tournament matchups and former Baltimore Raven Torrey Smith’s charity basketball game and other smaller events.
The fortunes of the city could all change if Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has his way.
“I’ve always felt that Baltimore and Washington were one community,” Leonsis said to The Baltimore Sun in February. “I fly BWI as often as I fly Dulles. I probably have gone to as many Ravens games as I have Redskins games.”
Ted Leonsis also owns the Baltimore Brigade, an Arena Football League team that will play at Royal Farms Arena in 2017. He also owns the Washington Valor, another team that will play in the Verizon Center. His vision for the city of Baltimore could also include the Wizards and Capitals. That would only happen if Baltimore could build a new arena.
“Say there is a new arena here, who’s to say you couldn’t play 10 games in Baltimore?” Leonsis said to the CEO Club of Baltimore last Wednesday.
The key is Baltimore building an arena. One proposal that has been newly considered is the State Center option.
Maryland governor Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and State Treasurer Nancy Kopp voted 3-0 against a Maryland Board of Public Works project that was due to be placed at the State Center site. Now, according to Holden Wilen of the Baltimore Business Journal, Hogan has looked into the Maryland Stadium Authority conduct a study to see how feasible it would be to build a new arena:
Before the vote, Hogan committed to having the Stadium Authority fast-track a feasibility study for a new arena similar to the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Hogan’s commitment came after Franchot proposed the idea and the two discussed for several minutes the possibility of Baltimore housing professional basketball and hockey franchises.
This could be potentially a gigantic development for Baltimore. The upcoming months will be of the utmost importance, banking on the success of the Baltimore Brigade as a franchise. If many people show up to an Arena Football League game, they most likely would show up to a more popular NHL or NBA game. Only time will tell.