By: Ed Waldman
So how much would it mean to businesses in Baltimore if the Orioles make the playoffs?
That was one of the issues discussed Wednesday at a panel discussion on the economic impact of Camden Yards, hosted by the team.
After Tuesday’s games, the Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays were essentially tied atop the American League Wild Card standings. If the season ended today (which, last I looked, it doesn’t), both teams would be in the playoffs.
Doug Duennes, executive vice president of business operations for the Orioles, said that the addition of one more wild card team in each league has added to the excitement of the playoff races. He also said that despite the team’s poor record over the last 14 years, that they would be ready.
“We had to dust off that manual a little bit,” Duennes said. “As we get into a nice September run, the excitement goes beyond Camden Yards.”
“Because we play so many games, we are able to build momentum,” he added. “Everybody is on the edge of their seat.”
Thomas J. Noonan, president ant CEO of Visit Baltimore, the city’s tourism arm, pointed out the “civic pride component,” as well as the fact that there are more people coming to the park. He also said a winning team helps him draw visitors.
“People like going to towns where there are winners,” he said. “If we get extra games in October, that has a huge impact on us.”
And Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, said the team’s success has brought a “feeling of pride to the corporate community” as well.
“When you see something going good, you want to be a part of that,” Fry said.
The Orioles also said that they will be sending playoff ticket invoices (!) to their season ticket holders starting Thursday. (The news was first reported by the Baltimore Business Journal.)
Orioles spokesman Greg Bader said ticket prices for the first two rounds (Wild Card and Divisional playoffs) would be “mostly” the same as prime regular season games.
American League Championship Series games would be about 50 to 60 percent more than prime games, and World Series games would be three times as much, Bader said.
The Orioles make recommendations on ticket prices to Major League Baseball, Bader said, and then MLB makes recommendations back to the Orioles before the prices are set.