There’s a reason that the Ravens public relations department wins awards for being the best in the NFL. It’s because when negative stories come out, like the one about the team likely severing its ties with their beloved public training camp in Westminster, somehow they come out smelling like a rose.
The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the fan favorite sweltering hot days out at McDaniel College for Ravens training camp “appear to be over.” As speculated here on BSR over a month ago, the team is looking to keep it’s camp out of the public eye and return to the comfy confines of their Owings Mills facility.
All hope has not been lost yet. The organization is still in negotiations with McDaniel College officials, but all signs point to a return to The Castle. “Once the Ravens announced there would be no training camp in Westminster earlier this year, you sensed this might be the end,” Mike Preston writes.
Preston says that the organization began public training camps back in 1996 as a way hook fans on the new franchise. Now that the Ravens rule Baltimore, the team no longer has to worry about pleasing its fans.
So what if a few people are upset about losing training camp? It won’t stop 70,000 people from showing up on Sundays between September-January or slow down purple merchandise sales.
If Preston’s speculation is right and the Ravens keep training camp at their private facility, the story will be spun as a convenience issue for the franchise. Preston cites the “financial concerns” it requires to move the team from Westminster to Owings Mills. “I don’t know the exact costs, but we can assume that some of it is offset by the corporate sponsorship displayed around the practice fields in Westminster.” I don’t know the exact cost either, but I can assure fans that the Ravens are at least making the same amount per season that they made between 1996-2010 and if I had to bet I would say that with the success of the franchise they are likely making much more.
The truth is that if the Ravens move their training camp it will be because they are tired of being in the public eye. The team already limited fan’s interaction with players at McDaniel when they unveiled their revised autograph policy in 2010. “Safety issues” took the blame for those fan limitations, this time I’m sure it will be something else.
There will be fans that call me crazy or look the other way as the Ravens push fans further down the priority list. That’s okay. Just keep in mind that if training camp moves to Owings Mills it will cost at least $150 to get anywhere near as close to this team as you could at McDaniel.
Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com. You can follow him on Twitter @zamwi or send him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org