ORLANDO, Fla. — Baltimore Ravens brass arrived in Orlando, Fla. during the weekend for the annual NFL owners meetings, which began Monday morning at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes.
During a break Monday, Ravens president Dick Cass sat down with RSR and answered questions on a variety of areas, including Baltimore’s offseason, the team’s long-term plans for training camp and the three off-field incidents involving Ravens players this offseason.
Here is the interview:
Matt Zenitz: One thing you said at the facility around when Eugene Monroe was re-signed was that you guys were undefeated so far this offseason. You guys have since signed Steve Smith, traded for Jeremy Zuttah and also re-signed Daryl Smith and Jacoby Jones. So do you still feel the same way?
DICK CASS: I still feel that way. Absolutely. It’s the best time of year. We’re undefeated. Every possibility still remains for us. Very optimistic. Lots of hope. I think we feel the way our fans do. I think our fans are probably optimistic right now.
MZ: How much did the salary cap increasing help?
DC: I think that helped. But we always try to look at the salary cap in more than one year. And so last year, we had to make some changes, and we expected a little more salary cap room this year as we headed into the free agency period.
MZ: Are you expecting another rise as far as the salary cap next year?
DC: I think there will be a rise. That’s what the league is saying. How much it’s going to be, we don’t know yet. We won’t know until much later. But we’re going to anticipate that there is going to be some rise next year of course.
MZ: I’m assuming the CBS Thursday night package helped with the rise this year.
DC: I think it did. I think the CBS package helped quite a bit, and I think there were a couple of national sponsorship deals that the league got done that helped a lot. So I think it was just that the revenues increased unexpectedly.
MZ: And going forward, what is the salary cap rising dependent on?
DC: It’s revenues really. So there is going to be an increase in the national television money in 2015 compared to 2014. And so I’m expecting a rise. We just don’t know how much.
MZ: As far as you guys, what went into the decision to not raise ticket prices this year and how are you doing as far as personal seating license (PSL) renewals and so on?
DC: We used to be on a system of raising ticket prices every other year. We never raised prices every year. So since we raised prices in ’13, we were not going to raise prices in 2014. We announced at the time that we made the ticket price increase in 2013 that we would not raise prices this year, so that was just really carrying through what we already said last year.
We’re doing very well with ticket renewals. I think we’re basically always 100-percent on season ticket renewals, and partly that’s because of our PSLs. I don’t know if you know how that works. If you have a personal seating license and you don’t want to renew your season tickets, then you sell your PSL. Whoever buys it would then buy the season tickets. So our renewal rate really is almost 100-percent every year.
We do have some PSL holders who decide that they don’t want to remain a season ticket holder and so they sell the PSL, but it’s a very small number. I don’t remember the number off the top of my head, but it’s a couple hundred a year. It’s not very many.
MZ: Are you working on any improvements as far as the stadium? Also, do you have any initiatives planned?
DC: Well last year, we announced the $35 million stadium renovation, and it consisted of two parts. One was the lower bowl and some things we did in the seating bowl. This offseason, we’re completing it and working on the upper bowl. So some of the elements we introduced in the lower bowl last year like we’re renovating all of the concession stands on the upper level. We’re putting in some great, big video boards on the upper level. So our fans on the upper level will see some improvements when they come to our first game this year, which is good.
MZ: Are you planning on doing off-site practices during training camp again this year?
DC: We will go back and have a stadium practice and we’ll have another practice at the Naval Academy. We don’t have the dates absolutely certain yet, but it will certainly be those two anyway.