For Immediate Release: February 8, 2013
Contact: Eric Johnson, Project Director, Maryland Stadium Authority, 410-333-1560
Contact: Alvin McNeal, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Dept. of Parks and Recreation, 301-699-2533
The Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA), in conjunction with The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), released a market and economic study for a proposed 22,000-seat lacrosse stadium and youth sports complex to be located at Green Branch Park, adjacent to Prince George's Stadium off of Route 301 in Bowie.
In 2012, M-NCPPC asked the Maryland Stadium Authority to evaluate the economic and community benefits for locating this facility at Green Branch Park, an undeveloped 319-acre parcel of land owned by M-NCPPC's Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George's County. The study was performed by Crossroads Consulting, which performed similar work for the MSA over the past several years.
The study focuses on two factors: the feasibility of a new lacrosse stadium, envisioned as a home facility for the professional Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Chesapeake Bayhawks. Additionally, the study evaluates whether a related multi-field youth sport complex could serve as a multi-purpose hub for youth recreation league and tournament play in the County.
The multi-field youth sport complex would address a major shortage of fields in Prince George's County and the greater region, and would provide the opportunity to introduce lacrosse to the residents while offering versatility in activities and seasonal use. The study identifies that amateur and youth sports have historically fared well in economic downturns, with multi-day, family-oriented travel revolving around events from March until November. Based on interviews with a number of local stakeholders in the recreational and tourism sectors, the study also notes that up to 40% of the participants and spectators who would attend events at the youth complex would be from out of state.
The practicality of a professional lacrosse stadium seating up to 22,000 persons is less certain. The 2012 MLL champion Bayhawks currently lease the Naval Academy stadium in Annapolis, have an average attendance of 9,500 spectators per game, and have increased attendance by more than 100% from the 2010 season. The economic analysis cited challenges for a stadium of this size, including a short season and limited event usage. If the stadium moves forward, the report recommends considering a smaller stadium venue in the 12,000- to 14,000-seat range.
M-NCPPC Director of Parks and Recreation Ronnie Gathers stated, "We are pleased to receive the study performed by the Maryland Stadium Authority. We fully agree with the study's recommendations for a multi-field lacrosse complex, and are working with the community and elected officials to move forward with the best use of the property to meet the increasing demand for playing fields and other recreational amenities in Prince George's County. We are also mindful of the opportunity to create an economic benefit to the County on this site."
As a result of the study's findings, M-NCPPC has requested that the MSA move forward with a Phase II study to evaluate the complex. The Phase II study will include defining the scope and program elements of the project, developing a conceptual design and site plan, estimating costs, determining potential public and private sector funding partners, and devising a management strategy. If the request receives approval, M-NCPPC will fund the next phase of the study.
John Morton, MSA Chairman of the Board added, "The MSA was happy to work with the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission and Prince George's County to evaluate the market for a professional lacrosse stadium and youth sports complex. This study provides stakeholders with the information they need to decide how best to proceed with the project."
The complete study is posted on the Maryland Stadium Authority website and may be accessed here: http://mdstad.com/current-studies/bowie-lacrosse-stadium-youth-sports-complex