Orioles Payments Totaling $255M For Camden Yards More Than Initial Cost Of Ballpark
Twenty-five years after Camden Yards opened, the Orioles have paid the state of Maryland $255M in "rent and admission taxes" -- more than the ballpark's sticker price, according to a front-page piece by Jeff Barker of the Baltimore SUN. State officials said that Maryland "got a good deal even as it continues to spend" $15M a year to pay off the bonds. The club's lease is "due to expire" at the end of '21, though the Orioles "have the option to extend it for five years." While "everyone expects the Orioles would continue playing at Camden Yards, given the club's deep Baltimore roots and commitment to the city, everything else could be on the table, including lease terms and updates in and around" the ballpark. Under the terms of the lease, the Orioles pay the Maryland Stadium Authority "varying percentages of ticket sales, stadium advertising revenues, parking revenues, concession sales and suite club-level revenues." Documents show the MSA "has received an average" of $6.4M in annual rent from the team, plus $4.1M a year as "its share of state admissions taxes." The MSA said that the state "also rents out the brick B&O Warehouse, the stadium's right field backdrop, collecting" about $4M a year. It also said that it pays about $15M a year in "debt service -- principal plus interest -- on the 30-year bonds issued to pay for Camden Yards." The bonds are to be "fully paid off by the end" of '19 at a total cost of about $450M, "about twice" the ballpark's initial cost. However, the debt service is "paid with Maryland Lottery proceeds appropriated each year by the General Assembly." The MSA "uses the team's rent money for ballpark operations" (Baltimore SUN, 4/18).