Ravens' scrimmage sacks the Police

February 16, 2007|By Bill Ordine | Bill Ordine,Sun Reporter

Ravens fans, still smarting from last month's playoff loss to the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts, probably can't wait for next football season to begin. But for some folks, it may be starting just one weekend too soon.

A preseason scrimmage in early August apparently sacked Baltimore's chance to land a date on the reunion concert tour of the rock group the Police.

An event promoter called the Ravens offering to broker an agreement between the rock group and the team for use of M&T Bank Stadium, a club official confirmed yesterday. But the date being offered, Aug. 4, is also when the Ravens are scheduled to play a preseason scrimmage, possibly against the Washington Redskins or an intrasquad session.

Gregory J. Smith, president of the Camden Yards Sports and Entertainment Commission, said he tried to offer the promoter, Seth Hurwitz, alternate dates. The back-and-forth communication with the promoter took place within the past month, according to Smith. Hurwitz, who has an office in Bethesda, was out of town and couldn't be reached to comment.

"You need a number of days to set up so it's not like you could just have it on Aug. 2 or Aug. 6. But [the Police] just didn't have anything available either before of after that weekend that worked," Smith said.

The Police tour is scheduled to begin its North American swing in Vancouver on May 28 and will include stops in New York, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas, New Orleans, St. Louis, Toronto and Montreal. The group, which broke up in 1984 and includes members Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland, is known for hits such as "Roxanne."

The Ravens and the Orioles have an agreement with the Maryland Stadium Authority that allows the teams to book outside events for M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, respectively, authority executive director Allison Asti said.

Smith pointed out that arranging for major outside events at the Camden Yards sports complex is particularly difficult during good weather. When both pro teams are in-season starting in early August, at least one venue is in use every weekend. And even from early April to the end of July, either Orioles games or some other outside event, such as the African American Heritage Festival or the Ravens Spring Football Festival, occupies most weekends.

Among non-Ravens events that the football stadium will be used for this year are the NCAA men's lacrosse final four on Memorial Day weekend and the Army-Navy football game in December.

Though M&T Bank Stadium hosted the HFStival, a daylong rock concert, in May 1999 and 2005, the Ravens have expressed concerns about some events that could become unruly, Asti said. But that didn't appear to be a factor regarding the Police.

"The frustrating thing about it is that the demographics of the Police are really pretty good," Smith said. "They appeal to all generations so you're not going to get anything crazy. It's the kind of event that appeals to the [luxury] suite holders. ... It's just that sometimes in these stadium situations, it's just not possible."


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