WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ)—Reaction to the Ravens’ decision to move training camp this year. It will not be held in Westminster, which will have a big financial impact on the town.
Weijia Jiang reports with more on the fallout the decision will have.
The Ravens tell WJZ they don’t want to leave Westminster, but they have no choice. And it may be the fans who are most heartbroken of all.
For 15 years, McDaniel College has been home to the Ravens training camp.
“Westminster and football in the summer has really become kind of synonymous,” said one local.
Synonymous no more as a result of the ongoing NFL lockout.
In a statement, the organization says, “there are logistics that needed to be addressed, including McDaniel’s schedule, the fields and other Ravens football functions. Right now, we don’t know dates for camp. And we’ve been forced to make other plans.”
“That’s what people look forward to every year,” said one fan, “to see the Ravens up there practice.”
In fact, last summer, 110,000 fanss watched open practice at camp. Something the Owings Mills location is not equipped to do. The team spokesman says there is no parking or space for spectators. And the property won’t draw a crowd.
“That’s going to be bad,” said one fan. “That’s going to affect the relationship of the fans to the team.”
Since fans won’t be coming to Westminster for training camp, they won’t be there to spend their money–revenue local businesses have come to rely on for an economic boost.
“All of the businesses around here are supported by the fans when they come to training camp,” said a Westminster business owner.
More than $1 million pour in every year from restaurants on Main Street to the Best Western Hotel, where the Ravens have always booked four-week stays.
“When I told my staff yesterday, it was very unsettling,” said Best Western Hotel manager.
For now, the businesses, the fans and the college can only hope the Ravens will be back next summer.
Coincidentally, the Ravens contract with McDaniel ran out last summer. But before they sign a new contract both parties want to wait for this NFL uncertainty to be resolved.
The Ravens plan to hold at least one practice at M&T Bank Stadium so fans can watch.