Orioles Planning To Sign New Lease To Remain In Baltimore

In a September 1 memo to the Orioles front office, team chairman/CEO John Angelos said that he intends to sign a new lease at Camden Yards that would ensure that the O’s remain in Baltimore over the long term, The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Barker reports.  The team’s current lease at Oriole Park at Camden Years expires after the 2023 season, though the Orioles have until February 1, 2023 to exercise a five-year extension that would stretch the lease through the 2028 campaign.

The team made no official comment on the situation, though Baltimore mayor Brandon M. Scott (in a written statement) said Friday that “time and time again about the possibility of the Orioles leaving Baltimore. I have 99 problems but the Orioles leaving Baltimore has never been one.  The Orioles are a part of the breath, blood and life of Baltimore.”

John Angelos has also been vocal about keeping the O’s in Baltimore, which has been the chairman’s constant amidst a legal battle within the Angelos family over the last few months.  Louis Angelos (like John, the son of owner Peter Angelos and his wife Georgia) recently filed a lawsuit against his mother and brother to try and initiate a sale of the Orioles, while Georgia Angelos filed a countersuit.  Peter Angelos has been in poor health for several years, and Georgia will inherit the franchise in the event of Peter’s death, while John has been the organization’s official control person.

The outcome of these legal filings may not be known for some time, and it isn’t entirely certain whether or not anyone in the Angelos family will eventually end up owning the team.  As per an August court filing, Georgia Angelos “retained Goldman Sachs and Jones Day to provide investment banking and legal services in connection with the sale of the Orioles,” though this could also relate to the sale of a minority share — past reports have suggested John Angelos is looking to bring a minority owner on board, while the Angelos family would keep overall control of the franchise.

According to the Maryland Stadium Authority, Barker writes that “the legal proceedings aren’t affecting…lease negotiations with the team.”  Authority chairman Thomas Kelso said earlier this week that “no inferences should be drawn from the length of time it takes to get an agreement done.  It has to be right.”

The five-year extension clause would seemingly provide the organization some extra time to negotiate, if an agreement can’t be reached prior to February 1.  Even if the Orioles did enact that five-year extension, there would seemingly not be any reason the two sides couldn’t continue talks about a new lease that would then begin after 2028.

A new lease at OPACY doesn’t only involve the Orioles, given John Angelos’ bigger-picture plans for “redeveloping the Camden Yards Sports Complex into a year-round Live/Work/Play entertainment destination,” as per his memo.  Such neighborhood development projects have become common in modern stadium plans, though naturally these more complicated deals must clear several hurdles.  In addition to the Orioles, the city of Baltimore, the state of Maryland as a whole, and the NFL’s Ravens (who play at nearby M&T Bank Stadium and share parking facilities with Camden Yards) would all be involved the funding and development of such a so-called ballpark village plan.

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