The Orioles are exploring the sale of the naming rights for the field at Camden Yards, according to a report from the Sports Business Journal.
The stadium, which opened in 1992 and is considered revolutionary, has only ever been known as Oriole Park at Camden Yards, as the franchise bucked the trend of signing a lucrative naming rights deal. Only nine of the 30 MLB teams, including the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, don’t have a stadium sponsor.
The Maryland Stadium Authority owns the stadium, and the Orioles’ lease originally prevented the team from selling naming rights. However, an arbitrator granted the club that right in 2001 after the MSA allowed the Ravens to sell naming rights to their stadium.
The Orioles declined to comment. The Maryland Stadium Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nor did a representative for Maryland Gov. Wes Moore.
The report from the Sports Business Journal, which suggested the resulting name would have a “XYZ Field at Camden Yards” formulation, indicates a decade-long contract could be worth $6 million to $8 million annually. The Orioles have the second-lowest payroll in the league, though CEO and chairman John Angelos has said he expects the team to spend more as it moves into win-now mode.
The existing lease at Camden Yards expires at the end of this year after the Orioles declined to exercise a five-year extension by Feb. 1.
Last month, John Angelos said he’d “love to have that [new lease] as an All-Star Break gift for everybody, really, in the community.”
He also reiterated his commitment to keeping the team in Baltimore, despite he and his mother, Georgia Angelos, preparing for a possible sale of the franchise, according to court records.
“There’s just no there there other than we’re going to get that done,” Angelos said of the new lease. “That’s always been one of the things I’ve committed to, and I have no intention of not seeing that happen. I know the governor and his folks are just as keen on it as we are.”
In 2000, owner Peter Angelos said he didn’t plan to sell the naming rights, telling The Washington Post he “would never do anything to alter the Camden Yards name.”
“My goal is to retain Oriole Park,” Peter Angelos said at the time. “It’s known throughout the world as the finest park.”
But MSA permitted the Ravens to sell the naming rights at then-Ravens Stadium after the team paid $10 million, and the Orioles successfully argued that they deserved the same based on a clause in their lease that promised comparable treatment to the NFL team.
The Ravens’ current 10-year deal with M&T Bank lasts until 2027 and pays the team a total of $60 million.
In 2015, John Angelos tweeted to fans that “there has never been nor is there any plan today to sell naming rights to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.”
The team is also seeking a sponsor for space above the scoreboard, where an iconic sign for The Baltimore Sun appeared until last month when it was removed because the newspaper stopped making payments.
Reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this story.