Only one stadium in the National Football League hosts a home team that gets its name from a well-known Gothic writer. We see evidence of the unusual name in a famous poem with homage to the team’s energy soaring through the air. Edgar Allen Poe lived in Baltimore in the early 1800s and remains one of the most famous people to have called Baltimore home. His poem, The Raven, was the genesis of the nickname of the city’s NFL franchise. The Baltimore Ravens have a unique nickname to match their unique stadium: M&T Bank Stadium in the heart of Baltimore.
The stadium opened in 1998 with a sellout crowd of over 71,000 enthusiastic fans witnessing the first game between the Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Back then, the facility was called Ravens Stadium at Camden Yards, the latter due to its location in the Camden Yards Sports Complex. One year later PSINet purchased the naming rights for three years, after which it reverted back to Ravens Stadium. Finally in 2003 the M&T Bank Corporation purchased the long-term naming rights for the Ravens’ home field and have held the stadium name ever since.
M&T Bank Stadium was originally built with a maximum seated capacity of just over 68,000 fans. Several thousand more fans were allowed into the building via standing-room only areas and interior lounges. Gradual renovations over the years have increased the maximum seating capacity to in excess of 71,000 total fans. The official seating chart for M&T Bank Stadium shows five total levels of seating with the middle three occupied by high-end club and suite sections.
As with many teams, the Baltimore Ravens franchise was once located elsewhere. Known originally as the Cleveland Browns, the enticement of a dazzling new stadium and excited fan base convinced team ownership to move the organization to Baltimore in 1996. The Ravens put their name on the map with nine playoff appearances in their brief history with nearly one each year since 2000. With two AFC Championships under their belts, and four AFC North Division titles, opponents would think twice when taking them on. It’s no surprise, then, that they walked away with Super Bowls XXXV and XLVII.
The Bank, as M&T Bank Stadium is known to many locals, is located just south of downtown Baltimore, as the raven flies. If you find yourself heading north on I-95 from one of the Southern states, or south from New England, you’ll know your close when an arm of Chesapeake Bay is close at hand. In fact, when you intersect I-395, you will know you’re close. For finer details, plug in 1101 Russell St., and, voila! Public transportation comes in several flavors. Contact the Maryland Transit Administration at 410-539-5000 for information on the Baltimore Light Rail and local bus service. Look for the Hamburg Street station if taking the rail.
If you purchased parking in advance (season ticket holders have an advantage here), there are 2,200 parking spots to choose from. Know that Baltimore wanted parking to be relatively easy, so you’ll find upwards of 30,000 spaces in proximity to The Bank. If you’re into the tailgating scene, many of the lots have tailored their offerings to this pastime. A visit to M&T Bank Stadium is a great way to cap off a trip to Baltimore and its proximity to the rest of the city makes a Ravens game easy to fit into a busy schedule. Every NFL fan should experience a Baltimore Ravens game in their home stadium.
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By Nolan Kido
This article has been written by Nolan Kido. Nolan is a sports fan who lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.