As part of the Orioles’ efforts to make Camden Yards an entertainment destination beyond its confines as a baseball stadium, the club announced Friday that famed musical artist Paul McCartney will perform at Oriole Park on June 12 as part of his “Got Back” tour. It’s the first time McCartney will host a show in Baltimore since 1964.
The announcement comes as the Orioles are attempting to negotiate a new lease with the city of Baltimore. According to the Baltimore Sun, the team’s original lease was set to expire in December, but the two sides agreed to extend it through Dec. 31, 2023.
Though there are reportedly several groups of investors that would be interested in purchasing the team should the Angelos family decide to sell, Chairman and CEO John Angelos said in a press conference Friday that the Orioles have every intention of remaining in Baltimore.
“I would say that the Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority have never at any point in time, from the first minute I got together and sat down with Tom Kelso, neither one of us has ever said anything other than, ‘We can’t wait to extend and renew this public/private partnership,’” Angelos said. “It’s been a great, great success than we ever thought back when first Mayor and then Gov. Schaefer and others were the pioneers of this…that Oriole Park alone would draw 75 million people in 30 years.”
Angelos added that it would be “wonderful for everybody” if they could get the deal done during Gov. Larry Hogan’s current term, which ends in January 2023. The Orioles are in the midst of a rebuild they hope will put a winning product on the field in the near future, something Angelos believes will help restore and even improve on the team’s attendance numbers from their last competitive window.
The Orioles averaged 10,169 fans per home game last season, good for 26th in MLB. In 2019, their last full season before the pandemic, Baltimore drew an average of 16,347 — 28th overall. The club last topped 2 million total fans in a season in 2017, the final year in a streak of six straight seasons with at least 2 million fans visiting their ballpark.
Angelos thinks, with a competitive ballclub, the Orioles can go even higher than that number.
“From 2012 to 2016, when I think about the attendance…I think what the Orioles were drawing to downtown Baltimore at the end of that five-year period of good play was a decent attendance [mark] but I think we could’ve done better even in that fifth year of competitiveness,” Angelos said. “And I think we would’ve done better had we maybe explored best practices. You can always market better, sell better, prepare better, make the customer experience better.
“So I look at that high point of 2012 to 2016 as not the highest point we could’ve reached then and I think that’s a good marker because that means if we do everything right, or many if not most things right, for the next five year period…of competitiveness, we can do even better than that.”