Ravens to open season away from home (updated with NFL statement)

Although the NFL has begun the tradition of having the Super Bowl champion host the following season opener, the Ravens will begin the season on the road in 2013 because of a scheduling conflict with the Orioles.

The Orioles’ schedule was released at the end of the 2012 baseball season, and included a Sept. 5 home date with the Chicago White Sox at night. The NFL and MLB were unable to work out a compromise to allow the Ravens to start at home.

“After thorough discussions among the Orioles, the NFL and the Ravens, it became clear that holding both an Orioles’ game and the Ravens’ regular season opener on the same day would create logistical situations that would cause serious issues for the city of Baltimore, and fans for both teams,” Ravens president Dick Cass said in a statement. “The Ravens greatly appreciate the willingness of the Orioles to adjust the start of their game in an effort to make this sports spectacular happen. But, in the end, anticipated problems with parking, rush-hour traffic, plus crowd and car congestion around Oriole Park and M&T Bank Stadium, will keep the doubleheader from taking place.”

The Orioles also issued a statement regarding the controversy which has caused such an uproar in the city in recent days:

“The Orioles have great respect for the Super Bowl Champion Ravens and thank Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association, and the White Sox for doing everything possible to work with us to explore all options to reschedule the Sept. 5 game. We also appreciate the work of the NFL and the Ravens over the past several weeks as we attempted to accommodate the Ravens’ interest in a game the same evening. Given the limited options available to reschedule the game at that late date in the season, the parties jointly determined that even an earlier start time would still create such enormous logistical difficulties that it would greatly diminish the fan experience for both events which all parties realized would not be in the interest of their fans or the City.”

Update: NFL senior vice president of communications Greg Aiello has also released a statement about the efforts to make it so the Ravens could open the season in Baltimore:

“While we are disappointed for the fans in Baltimore, we appreciate the efforts of the Ravens, Orioles and Major League Baseball and understand the logistical problems in trying to schedule the teams on the same day. The Ravens will open the season on the road on Thursday night, Sept. 5, in our annual NFL Kickoff Game on NBC. We are exploring potential fan activities in Baltimore around the Kickoff Game, including a pregame concert.”