M&T Bank Stadium

M&T Bank Stadium is a multi-purpose football stadium located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is the home of the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. The stadium is immediately adjacent to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the home of the Baltimore Orioles. Served by the Hamburg Street station of the Baltimore Light Rail, the stadium originally featured a natural grass surface. However, an artificial surface, Sportexe Momentum Turf, was installed for the 2003 season, which in turn was replaced by FieldTurf in 2010.

History

Prior to the 1998 season, the Baltimore Ravens played at Memorial Stadium for two years. However, due to the stadium's aging state, it wasn't suitable for an NFL franchise, and ground was broken for the new stadium in mid-1996. It is sometimes called the Russell Street Coliseum (since the stadium sits directly on Russell Street) or 'The Bank'. M&T Bank Stadium officially opened in 1998, and is currently one of the most praised stadiums in the NFL for fan amenities, ease of access, concessions and other facilities. The stadium was originally known as Ravens Stadium at Camden Yards, until ISP PSINet acquired the naming rights in 1999, naming it PSINet Stadium. It then reverted back to Ravens Stadium in 2002 when PSINet filed for bankruptcy.

In 2003, M&T Bank acquired naming rights to the stadium. The bank had recently entered the Baltimore market with its purchase of Allfirst Bank. Two other companies were in the running to be granted naming rights to the stadium; they were reportedly Nextel and CarMax. Following the September 2002 death of Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas, public sentiment leaned toward renaming the then-sponsorless stadium after the Baltimore icon. However, the Ravens and the Maryland Stadium Authority held firm in their right to negotiate naming rights fees. Instead, Towson University named its recently renovated football and lacrosse stadium, where Unitas had thrown his last pass just weeks before his death. In the end, the plaza in front of the main entrance to the Ravens' stadium was named "Unitas Plaza", complete with a bronze statue of the Hall of Famer. The plaza features large banners, each containing a picture of Unitas in his playing days, flanking the stadium entrance.

The stadium's name may change again due to M&T Bank being in merger discussions with other banks, including Grupo Santander (which owns Sovereign Bank), Wells Fargo, and PNC Financial Services. A possible takeover of M&T by PNC would be ironic, considering it is based in Pittsburgh, the home of the Ravens archrivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and is already a major sponsor for both the Steelers and the Cleveland Browns within the AFC North. (PNC became a sponsor of the Browns after PNC's 2008 acquisition of Cleveland-based National City, which had a sponsorship deal with the Browns before the deal.) The stadium's name would remain unchanged if M&T Bank merged with Sovereign Bank, as the M&T name would survive.

Tenants

While its primary tenant is the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League, the stadium also serves as an alternate venue for the Johns Hopkins University's men's lacrosse team, and was the site of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2011. Major League Lacrosse's Baltimore Bayhawks used the stadium as their home during the 2002 season. The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) holds the four state football championships for Maryland's public high schools at M&T Bank Stadium.

Two very important Baltimore high school rivalry games are also held at the stadium every November. Baltimore City College plays Baltimore Polytechnic Institute every November, in one of the oldest high school football rivalries in the United States. Every Thanksgiving, Loyola Blakefield and Calvert Hall College also square off in what has now been called for many years as the Turkey Bowl. Fans for both games reach up to 13,000 people.

Both games were once played back-to-back on Thanksgiving Day at Memorial Stadium. However, when City College and Polytechnic joined the MPSSAA before 1994 season, the game was forced to be played in early November, due to MPSSAA rules and playoff schedule.

Other notable events

Popular music festival HFStival appeared at the stadium in 1999 & 2005, as Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Offspring, Blink-182, Goo Goo Dolls, Billy Idol, and Coldplay have all played the concert.

On July 4, 2000, Metallica played to a sold out crowd.

In 2005, the stadium was the site of the first rematch in the Maryland-Navy series known as the "Crab Bowl Classic" in 40 years. The two teams have agreed to play again at M&T Bank Stadium in 2010.

On October 28, 2006, the stadium held a contest between Notre Dame and Navy in which Notre Dame won 38-14 and in 2007 the stadium held the Army–Navy Game for the second time.

On December 7, 2008, an M&T Bank Stadium then record crowd of 71,438 watched the Baltimore Ravens defeat the Washington Redskins 24-10 on Sunday Night Football, only to be surpassed the next week when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Ravens 13-9 in front of 71,502.

On July 24, 2009, English Premier League club Chelsea F.C. won 2-1 against Italian Serie A team A.C. Milan in the first World Football Challenge at M&T Bank Stadium in front of a crowd of 71,203, making it the only game of the tournament to sell out its capacity.

U2 played at the stadium on June 22, 2011 on their U2 360° Tour to a record breaking crowd of over 75,000.

For the first time Monster Jam will come to the stadium on July 9, 2011 with favorites like Grave Digger being driven by Dennis Anderson and Maximum Destruction being driven by Tom Meents along with 14 others like Adam and Ryan Anderson and Linsey Weenk in there new trucks for 2011.

Popular culture

The stadium served as the home field for the fictional Washington Sentinels in the 2000 film The Replacements with Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman (ironically, it was called Nextel Stadium). The stadium was also supposed to be the location of the football game in the 2002 film The Sum of All Fears and included footage of the presidential motorcade going to the building. However, the stadium used for the aerial shots is the domed Olympic Stadium in Montreal, while the book used Denver as the locale for the attack.

Media

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Building Activity

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