Ted Leonsis’ Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) has announced the acquisition of an Arena Football League (AFL) team which will play in Baltimore starting next spring at Royal Farms Arena. MSE is also the owner of the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics, and another AFL team, the Washington Valor, which will debut next season at the Verizon Center.
The soon-to-be-named Baltimore team is currently conducting a search for a head coach who will oversee Baltimore’s football operations and assemble a roster. Baltimore was previously the home of the Baltimore Mariners, a team which played in a lower-tiered professional indoor football league.
“We are looking forward to bringing an AFL team to the Baltimore community,” said Leonsis in a statement. “Baltimore is known for its passionate sports fans, and we look forward to their spirited support of their AFL team. The AFL is a fast, fun experience for families and fans of all ages. We are excited about growing the league and using an array of technologies to bring fans closer to the game and the players. Baltimore is a natural location, and I envision some great rivalries between Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.”
“This expansion also demonstrates the dedication of our strong ownership group and its commitment to expanding the Arena Football League as a premier source of sports entertainment,” said commissioner Scott C. Butera in a statement.
The AFL was founded in 1987 and concluded its 29th season in 2016. Teams slated for 2017 include: Baltimore, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, and Washington D.C. Five of the eight teams from last year have left the league. The league is expected to expand.
The Royal Farms Arena has a capacity of 11,271 and is also the home of the Baltimore Blast of the Major Arena Soccer League. Baltimore officials have discussed in recent years the possibility of renovating the 55-year-old arena and the city has seen several proposal for new arenas over the years.
Season tickets for the AFL are now for sale through Ticketmaster.
Photo Courtesy of Baltimore AFL