A 10,000-seat soccer stadium could come to Port Covington

Covington Harbor. Rendering courtesy of Sagamore Development.

A 10,000-seat soccer stadium could come to Port Covington, according to the results of a feasibility study commissioned by Mayor Brandon Scott.

The Maryland Stadium Authority voted 4-0 Tuesday to explore the feasibility of building a soccer stadium somewhere in the city of Baltimore and making the Port Covington redevelopment district one of the areas under consideration.

The vote came after Al Tyler, vice president of the stadium authority’s Capital Projects Development Group, told the board that Scott requested the study and that the state pay one-third of the cost of the study.

Tyler said Scott did not have a specific stadium site in mind, but wanted Port Covington to be considered.

“The stadium will house an organization with the name of Right To Dream as its primary tenant,” Tyler said. “Right to Dream follows an academy-style model that uses soccer as a means of providing educational and sports opportunities to underprivileged children. It is very similar to…IMG Academy,” a boarding school in Bradenton, Florida that offers academic classes and sports training.

The academy “operates on a campus, which typically includes residential and academic buildings, as well as a multi-purpose arena,” Tyler said. “The other thing that is anticipated to host the stadium is a USL men’s and women’s. [United Soccer League] professional team that Right to Dream has the exclusive rights to operate.”

The city of Baltimore and Right to Dream “envision the residential and academic buildings to be privately funded and envision the stadium to be publicly funded and owned and operated by the stadium authority,” Tyler told the state board.

“This study includes a research and market analysis related to professional soccer and the USL in Baltimore to see what would generate that activity and what would generate any other type of multi-use, multi-purpose activity in Baltimore, as well as an operating strategy. and economic impact analysis of owning and operating a new stadium in the city of Baltimore,” so state officials will have information about the impacts the project would have, he explained.

The study will cost $62,000. Tyler said the city of Baltimore and private funding sources would cover two-thirds of the cost of the studio, about $41,333, and Scott asked the stadium authority to pay the other third, about $20,667. Members have been told that state funds are available to pay for the study in the fiscal year that began July 1.

Tyler emphasized that the mayor does not have a specific city site in mind for the soccer stadium, except that he wants Port Covington to be considered.

“Otherwise, it’s not site-specific,” Tyler said. “There is a potential site that the people from Right to Dream and the city of Baltimore are talking about with Port Covington. However, this is a non-site-specific effort apart from the city of Baltimore.”

Port Covington is a former industrial area in South Baltimore that is being transformed into a mixed-use community with housing, office, retail, and recreational use. The largest single parcel is a 235-acre tract with some land already set aside for recreation and open space.

Tyler did not give cost estimates for the stadium, saying it was unclear at this time how much land would be needed for the stadium and surrounding campus. He said the study and the “style of the stadium” will help determine the amount of land needed.

Agreeing to work at the studio does not in itself represent a commitment to go ahead with the project or acquire an equity stake, he added.

ed gunts