The Chesapeake Bayhawks hinted that the franchise was looking for a lacrosse-specific home in March of 2017. That’s when the Baltimore Business Journal reported the team’s ownership had proposed a $40 million stadium as part of a “bigger sports complex.”
The news had most excited for the future of the Bayhawks in a new stadium. It followed along the lines of the Ohio Machine, which opened the first lacrosse-specific MLL stadium this May.
The Bayhawks made their plans official on Thursday, revealing alongside the Chesapeake Sports and Entertainment Group a “multi-sport field and performance complex” that included an amphitheater and 10,000-seat stadium — the new home of the Chesapeake MLL franchise. The new stadium and complex will be located in Crownsville, Md., a town approximately 20 minutes from Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, where the Bayhawks have hosted home games since 2010.
“As an organization, we are determined to lead the way in growing the sport of lacrosse and building the MLL as a successful league and business, and these developments make that goal a reality for decades to come. We have the support of our state and local government to help develop all youth athletes in the mid-Atlantic who will benefit from the usage of this complex,” said Brendan Kelly, Bayhawks owner and CEO of CSEG, in a press release.
Along with the MLL-specific amphitheater and stadium, the plan proposes 20 multi-sport fields, parking and a promenade that will feature various restaurants — all of which will be constructed where the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds currently reside.
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In the press release, CSEG referred to an “existing void” in youth sports in Maryland, as well as the additional entertainment and sports revenues as motivation for this project. Plus, the location of the franchise (in one of lacrosse’s biggest hotbeds) gave some added incentive.
“This is the busiest corridor in the country, with over 8 million people living within a 50 mile radius,” said Mark Burdett, president of the Chesapeake Bayhawks and CSEG. “Five major airports are within two hours and Baltimore-Washington International boasts the second largest Southwest hub in the country. We have over half a million weekly commuters on I-97. These commuters combined with 200 plus events each year, in a complex that features lodging, retail and a multi-sport array of fields, is a perfect way to capitalize on this growing industry while supporting hundreds of thousands of sports fans and families per year. We project an economic impact of over $125 million annually.”
The CSEG also announced that the stadium will be equipped with a "cutting-edge network, built to curate a live stream of events for family and friends unable to attend in person, straight to any screen."
To see the full renderings of the complex, click here.
By Matt Hamilton