With the recent awards of Super Bowls to the host cities of Atlanta (’19), Miami (’20) & Los Angeles (’21), coupled with upcoming Super Bowl sites of Houston (’17) & Minneapolis (’18), my jealousy, coupled with childlike behavior, finally boiled over.
“Why can’t we get a Super Bowl in Baltimore?! They gave one to the Jets in an open environment in a colder region! Baltimore would be a phenomenal host!”
*Folded arms, stomps, whines.* My 4 year old taught me well.
But despite my plea, we all know EXACTLY why Baltimore won’t be hosting a Super Bowl, let alone get a bid to be in the running. Goodell loves Robert Kraft, who hate the Ravens, who in turn black-balls the team and our city.
Or, the more rational reasons. Baltimore is a colder region come playoffs. M&T Bank is a relatively older stadium (18 years old).
Most importantly, The Bank doesn’t have a protection from the elements in the form of a roof/dome/canopy/lid.
Houston? Dome. Minneapolis? Dome. Atlanta and LA? You guessed it- both domes! And Miami gets fancy with a ‘canopy’ (but this is also the state where they use the word lanai instead of just calling it a screened in porch, so I’m not shocked).
But in Baltimore? We’re an open air stadium. We’re traditional. We’re old school.
And we’re hopeless when it comes to ever seeing a Super Bowl in our town.
But if the Ravens ever want to host a Super Bowl, the dome is all but required at this point. Which leaves the Ravens to pick their poison between a new stadium down the road, or adding a roof to the current stadium.
While a shiny, new stadium in Baltimore would be awesome, there’s a few minor obstacles to overcome along the way. Their current lease with M&T Bank Stadium through 2027 is the biggest issue, which would project 2030 as the earliest Baltimore would see a Super Bowl. That’s 14 years for you math whizzes. And that’s also another 9 Super Bowl awards to be handed out prior to that time. There’s also that other little detail about location of a new stadium.
Would they move the site away from Camden Yards? Would they incur additional costs to demo the current stadium and build new on site? Would they take a Redskins approach and call our team the ‘Baltimore’ Ravens, but not actually reside in Baltimore?
While the pipe dream of some new digs for the Ravens is appealing, the clear choice is to add a cap to The Bank, specifically a retractable roof.
From a Super Bowl standpoint, the city of Baltimore stands to benefit financially, with hundreds of millions of dollars of economic gains to be made around the area simply by hosting the event. There’s also the potential of painting a great picture of the city, while erasing some recent nasty shadows that resides over the city of Baltimore following the 2015 riots. Perhaps a widely viewed event such as the Super Bowl could help showcase the city in a positive light, reverting the Baltimore to its once great image (or at the very least with societal short term memory, it would help dissipate some of those negative associations).
Outside of the Super Bowl, perhaps the Ravens’ roof will also add some incentive to the average fan who is starting to lose interest in attending games. After all, why go sit outside and risk the elements when the alternative is sitting in your cushy man cave with your 60″ HDTV and surround sound while buying a 12-pack for the cost of 1 stadium beer (and a clean, personal bathroom with no line)? That fancy retractable roof eliminates the mother nature factor, while still allowing for open air games when the weather works in the team’s favor.
All in all, it seems the only downside is the financial ramifications.
Stadium roofing costs are usually estimated before the project, but the technology is there to add one to an existing stadium. According to my awesome Google skills, the average cost of a retractable dome runs between $100 and $150 million for an open-air stadium. That’s a TON of zeroes, but well worth the cost (I say that because it’s not my money), especially if the team is able to land a Super Bowl. and could potentially turn a $150m team investment into a benefit for the city of Baltimore that could well surpass that total.
Is it something that we could see in the near future?
Maybe, but most likely not in the next few years. The Ravens have just completed $40 million in renovations over the past 2 years, including updated club level amenities, new jumbotrons and the addition of a Distributed Antenna Solution via AT&T and Verizon (fancy talk for boosted cell signal). I can’t imagine they’d be willing to shell out nearly four times that cost for a roof. There’s also the fact that it’ll be a few more years until the owners get together and start looking for sites of the 2022 and 2023 Super Bowls. It would behoove the Ravens to hold off until the bids are gathered to announce such a renovation project in order to garner consideration for a name in the hat.
All in all, there’s far too many reasons for the Ravens not to consider a retractable roof on M&T Bank Stadium.
Now if only we could find $150 million laying around…