Ravens Fans Thirsty For Football Season Watch Open Practice

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s time to break out the purple! Monday, fans thirsty for the football season got a taste as the Ravens took the field for a special open practice. From the drills to all the plays, fans saw it all for free.

Christie Ileto has more from excited fans and on the Ravens’ impact on Baltimore’s economy.

Baltimore fans got a special treat Monday night when Ray Lewis stopped by the practice.

From the fight song to the die-hard fans, you’d think there’s a Ravens game and not a practice Monday night. But super fans are trying to get a glimpse of their favorite players tearing up the turf and maybe meet a fan favorite.

“I just want to see the players, get some autographs,” said one fan.

But the Ravens is more than just a football team; it’s big business for the city. The yearly economic impact of the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium for Baltimore is more than $200 million. It also helps generate 3,000 jobs.

“Economic impact for every game is substantial, even pre-season,” said Kirby Fowler, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.

And those jobs and money are pouring out of M&T Bank Stadium into the communities surrounding the area from living to entertainment—it all brings big bucks to downtown Baltimore.

“They buy food before going to the parking lots for the tailgating. They go to the restaurants, bars—they stay in hotels overnight, too. All this generates a positive economic impact for the downtown area and the greater city,” Fowler said.

“It’s amazing for us. It’s some of our biggest days of the year,” said Stephen Walsh, Pratt Street Ale House.

Walsh says every year they prepare for each home game because they know it’s going to be a busy night.

“Really passionate fans here in Baltimore and they love their team and hopefully they love to grab a drink and a bite to eat before and after the game,” Walsh said.

WJZ is your home for 13 Ravens, games, including the opening game against the Bengals and the first-ever CBS Thursday Night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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