Edifice Complex: Public Stadium Funding and Urban Redevelopment in Baltimore, Maryland

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In the 1980s, Marylanders engaged in a public debate over the need to replace Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. New stadium proponents, led by an elite coalition of politicians, businesspeople, and the newspapers, argued that Baltimore needed professional sports teams economically, as well as for the positive image they bestowed upon the city. Only a new publically-funded stadium would prevent the baseball Orioles from following the football Colts out of town, these supporters contented. A large segment of the public questioned the need to replace Memorial Stadium and suggested alternative social priorities for state funding, but the state legislature decided to fund the new stadium complex at Camden Yards anyway, despite intense popular opposition. For Baltimore’s elites, the issue was about more than sports. The new stadiums were a defense and continuation of the city’s neoliberal policies of urban redevelopment, along with all that those policies entailed, both good and bad.