OWINGS MILLS (WJZ)– The end of an era. The Ravens will no longer hold training camp in Westminster. Instead they’ll be in Owings Mills, and camp will be closed to the public.
Andrea Fujii has more on the decision that is disappointing many fans.
The team says it’s a logistical, not a financial move, and they too are sad to end a 15-year tradition.
Training camp at McDaniel College wasn’t just for the players. It was for the fans.
“You could really get close to your team,” a Ravens fan said.
But the Ravens will now hold closed pre-season training in their Owings Mills facility– a decision they didn’t take lightly.
“We completely understand that this takes away an important part of our connection with our fans. I regret that. Hopefully, we can find other ways to continue this outreach,” said owner Steve Bisciotti.
The bottom line: They say Owings Mills is better equipped for the team.
“The bigger picture is we can be a better football team, we can prepare better for the season if we have training camp here in Owings Mills,” the Ravens Vice President Kevin Byrne said.
The team also says they’ve outgrown the hotel where they always stay.
Besides missing the Ravens hype, the city of Westminster will lose money. City officials say training camp brought in nearly $2 million in the last 15 years.
“They stop and get jerseys and stuff at local stores. So it’s hard to imagine,” Kevin Utz, mayor of Westminster, said.
Down the road at Baugher’s restaurant, Ravens fans will miss the excitement.
“I’m a little disappointed. It was fun driving by there sometimes and seeing them practice,” said one person.
But many just want what’s best for the team.
“It seems to me, it didn’t seem practical to have two facilities, one of which is state-of-the-art, from what I understand,” said one person.
The Ravens plan to hold three pre-season practices open to the public next year, with at least one at M&T Bank Stadium.
Before the start of this season, the NFL lockout forced the team to hold training camp in Owings Mills for the first time.