The Baltimore Orioles are pleased to announce that the club has invited the Aberdeen IronBirds, Bowie Baysox, Delmarva Shorebirds, Norfolk Tides, and the communities they serve to continue as economic development and entertainment partners. The Orioles will also continue to collaborate with the community of Frederick, Md., where the club has worked with Major League Baseball (MLB) and Prep Baseball Report (PBR) to bring the MLB Draft League to Frederick residents. The MLB Draft League is the first league in the country focused on top prospects who are eligible for the annual MLB Draft.
This announcement is the result of a collaborative effort by the Office of the Commissioner, the Baltimore Orioles Partnership Group, three minor league ownership groups, and state and local government officials to build upon the Orioles organization’s unrivaled, sports-based economic presence in the region. For three decades, the Orioles have extended and replicated the club’s Camden Yards formula for driving tourism and delivering economic impact to benefit local communities. This time-tested formula for success was first introduced in 1992 through a private-public partnership of the Maryland Stadium Authority, the Maryland State Legislature, the City of Baltimore, and the Orioles that revolutionized urban real estate development by transforming the Camden Yards and Baltimore Inner Harbor areas into one of the leading sports tourism destinations. Since the Camden Yards campus opened in 1992, the Orioles have attracted more than 70 million visitors to Charm City, and an additional 19 million visitors have enjoyed Orioles baseball in the Maryland and Virginia communities that host the club’s minor league ballparks since 2005. With the renovation of Ed Smith Stadium in 2010, the Orioles brought the Camden Yards redevelopment model from Maryland to Florida through a similarly transformative private-public partnership of the State of Florida, Sarasota County, the City of Sarasota, and the Orioles that has been certified by state and local government as having generated nearly $100 million per year in economic impact directly benefiting the residents of that community. In the State of Maryland, Orioles baseball and Camden Yards have been a catalyst for billions of dollars of cumulative economic impact in local communities across the state for more than a quarter of a century.
“Over the past three decades, the Orioles have designed and established a network of economic development partnerships in Maryland, Virginia, and Florida which have generated billions of dollars in impact returned to the public, far exceeding the initial investments made. Our partners and our entire organization are extremely proud of that track record of development, entertainment, and over-delivery, and we are pleased to have successfully secured and extended the economic benefit of the Camden Yards blueprint for multiple communities into the future,” said John Angelos Orioles Chairman and CEO. “Throughout this process, we have remained committed to retaining our decades-long presence in our state and region as we work closely with Major League Baseball to evolve and extend our system of local baseball for the benefit of players and communities around the country. This steadfast commitment to our home state, the Mid-Atlantic region, and all communities where we do business will create jobs and drive commercial activity while ensuring that residents will continue to enjoy the most affordable, family-focused experience in professional sports.”
At the Triple-A level, the Orioles have invited the Norfolk Tides and Norfolk community to continue their partnership, which began in 2007. For more than a decade, Norfolk has been the final stop for Orioles prospects during their journey to Camden Yards. The Tides would continue to play their home games at Harbor Park in downtown Norfolk, Va.
At the Double-A level, the Orioles have invited the Bowie Baysox and Prince George’s County community to continue their partnership, which began in 1993. The Baysox, who have been an Orioles partner for nearly three decades, would continue to play their home games at Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie, Md.
At the Class A-Advanced level, the Orioles have invited the Aberdeen IronBirds and Aberdeen community to continue their partnership, which began in 2002. The IronBirds were introduced as an Orioles affiliate nearly two decades ago, when the Orioles worked to facilitate the opportunity for Ripken Professional Baseball to become part of the Orioles’ family of minor league ball clubs. The IronBirds would continue to play their home games at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Md.
At the Class-A level, the Orioles have invited the Delmarva Shorebirds and Salisbury community to continue their partnership, which began in 1997. For more than two decades, Wicomico County and the Eastern Shore of Maryland have been home to some of the organization’s youngest professional prospects just starting their journey toward Camden Yards. The Shorebirds would continue to play their home games at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Md.
In Frederick County, the Orioles have worked with the Office of the Commissioner and owner Ken Young to bring amateur baseball to the city through the groundbreaking MLB Draft League. The Orioles will maintain their strong presence in the region through baseball development and a series of entertainment and economic initiatives.
With the extension of this powerful economic partnership structure, the Orioles’ network of Major League and minor league player development in the State of Maryland and the region will remain one of the most economically vibrant, budget-friendly, and geographically cohesive in all of professional sports.
Under the Orioles brand, this unique model has established the State of Maryland as a year-round training hub for professional baseball. The geographic proximity of the Orioles’ development centers will enable the club to foster strong relationships with partner communities while allowing Major League coaches, scouts, athletic trainers, and front office analysts to have continuous, uninterrupted access to prospects and thereby optimize the time spent recruiting, teaching, and advancing young talent to Camden Yards.
“We are proud to continue the Orioles’ tradition of creating baseball across Maryland and our region,” said Mike Elias, Orioles Executive Vice President and General Manager. “We believe the structure of our minor league affiliates will enable us to continue fortifying a robust pipeline of talent that will graduate top prospects to Camden Yards in the very near future and for years to come, and we are excited to have secured a home for the MLB Draft League in Maryland as well. We are eager to continue working with our local communities as we strive to build the best player development system in baseball, with an eye towards our ultimate goal of developing a championship-caliber team.”
“Since the club moved to Baltimore in 1954, Orioles baseball has been a way of life in the State of Maryland,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “With today’s announcement affirming the club’s longstanding commitment to the region, I am as proud as ever to call myself an Orioles fan. The future of the Orioles and of the game of baseball in Maryland is bright.”
“We are thrilled that high-level baseball will remain in Aberdeen, Bowie, Frederick, and Salisbury and that these communities will be part of Maryland’s baseball landscape long into the future,” said Kelly M. Schulz, Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce. “There is no question that this honored American pastime has a significant economic impact throughout Maryland. This isn’t just about more opportunities for our residents; the Orioles’ commitment to Maryland will continue to help attract visitors and businesses to our state. We look forward to working with the Orioles to drive commercial activity and increased excitement in Maryland as the game of baseball grows at all levels.”
ABOUT THE ORIOLES’ IMPACT
In 1954, Major League Baseball returned to Charm City, drawing more than one million fans in its first year and laying the foundation for decades of success on and off the field. Since then, the Orioles and the State of Maryland have enjoyed a mutually beneficial, sustainable partnership that has driven economic impact and created meaningful change in the community and throughout the region. With the introduction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992, The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball ™ inspired a generation of construction that brought America’s ballparks into existing and historic neighborhoods and played a key role in the revitalization of urban life. Upholding this legacy for more than 28 years, Oriole Park has been widely regarded as one of the nation’s best sporting venues, annually ranked among the top ballparks by publications such as Forbes, USA Today, New York Times, and Washington Post. Attracting more than 70 million kids and adults to Charm City’s Inner Harbor area to date, Oriole Park is one of the leading catalysts for year-round tourism in Baltimore and Maryland, having directly contributed billions of dollars in economic impact The Orioles’ award-winning design and building innovation extends from Baltimore to the club’s southern home of Sarasota, Fla., where the Orioles have generated more than $436 million in cumulative economic impact since 2015 through the club’s year-round corporate presence and Spring Training attendance. In the 10 years since moving the Orioles’ year-round, state-of-the-art training academy and Major League and minor league operations to Sarasota, Ed Smith Stadium has welcomed more than one million fans and was named the best Spring Training experience in all of Major League Baseball by USA Today in 2018.
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