The Ravens and Orioles were not able to find a solution to their scheduling conflict.
Thus, the Ravens will open the 2013 season on the road, snapping a decade-long tradition of the Super Bowl champions starting the next year with a celebration and game at home.
The Ravens do not know where they will begin, only that it won’t be at M&T Bank Stadium. The game will still be on Thursday, Sept. 5.
The Orioles are slated to host the Chicago White Sox on at 7:05 p.m., next door to M&T Bank Stadium at Camden Yards. The two teams share parking lots and geography.
The two sides, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, were looking to host a Baltimore sports doubleheader with the Orioles pushing their first pitch up and the Ravens moving kickoff back. But that could not work in the end.
“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 Team President Dick Cass said.
“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 Ravens did not want to move to Wednesday because it’s the start of Rosh Hashanah. Going to Sunday could have also conflicted with the Orioles, who play at home at 1 p.m.
September is late in the baseball season as well, and the Orioles could be in playoff contention. They play in Cleveland the night before and moving the game forward would give them less rest. The Orioles released the following statement:
“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 September 5 game,” it said.
“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.”
The Ravens will begin with one of their three AFC North foes, Denver, Detroit, Chicago, Miami or Buffalo. Considering the league likely wants to open the season with a marquee AFC matchup, the Steelers or Broncos appear to be likely contenders.
NFL Senior Vice President of Communications Greg Aiello said the league is exploring potential fan activities in Baltimore around the kickoff game, including a pre-game concert, to still try to make it a special event.
“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 NFL statement said.