By Amanda Yeager | Baltimore Business Journal
The Orioles may have struggled to drum up home-game crowds this season, but John Angelos is still bullish on Baltimore.
Angelos, the team’s executive vice president, shared his love for the city Sept. 26 at Visit Baltimore’s annual meeting, where he took part in a panel focused on the economic impact of Baltimore’s sports franchises and athletic events — and assured fans the team is here to stay.
“We’re all in on Baltimore,” he said. “I grew up here, I spent every day of my life living in the city, so I’m incredibly partisan, but that doesn’t stop you from telling the narrative, from telling a great story.”
The Orioles and Ravens have both made their mark on tourism in Baltimore. Combined, the two teams have drawn millions of people to the city; Angelos estimated the number is at least 90 million since Camden Yards made its debut in 1992.
The teams’ effect on tourism has been particularly pronounced because both have stadiums located in downtown Baltimore, said Ravens president Dick Cass, another panelist.
“It was really visionary to put these stadiums downtown at a time when so many professional sports teams are building stadiums outside of the city,” he said. “If you’re going to come to our stadium or Orioles Park, you can walk to it [from hotels]. And that makes a big difference; I think it attracts other events.”
The panel, moderated by USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan, touched on topics like ticket affordability and how to convince younger generations to become devoted sports fans.
Cass said the Ravens pair traditional outreach methods, like youth football clinics and community appearances, with social media tactics to grow their fan base. The team registered 25 million article views, 12.5 million video views and more than 1 billion Twitter impressions in 2018, he said.
“We go to a lot of schools, we’re trying to build up the youth fan base, but at the same time we sort of give them what they want, which is greater access to our players and the team,” he said, “and we do that through digital devices, so we have devoted a lot of resources to building up our digital media team.”
“It’s always all about the players — you have to try to interest the fans in the players, and we have interesting players,” he added.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles
Issue 258: October 2019