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Kids Count: Arena Debate Continues

As First Mariner Arena nears its 46th birthday, Baltimoreans are calling for a new arena, one that can seat more people and keep up with the bells and whistles of its counterparts in other cities. Should a new arena be a smaller one since Baltimore does not host an NBA or NHL team or should the city invest in a larger one in hopes of attracting more professional teams? We asked Sam Thornton, 11, and Jake Nevins, 12, and this is what they had to say.

Bigger Arena Will Draw More

By Jake Nevins

There has been a debate going on around Baltimore about whether the new arena, in place of First Mariner Arena, should be bigger or smaller than its current size. The new arena should be bigger. 

The arena is big enough for small teams, like the Baltimore Blast of the Major Indoor Soccer League, but Baltimore needs something bigger and something else to get excited about. Our current arena would still need to have about 5,000 more seats than it does to be able to have an NBA or NHL team play there.

Baltimore needs to strive to be more like Los Angeles than Richmond. Baltimore natives don’t need to drive an hour down to Washington, D.C., to see the mediocre Washington Wizards play when they could have our own team. Until this city gets a bigger arena, Charm City sport fans won’t have a hometown hero like a Michael Jordan or a Shaquille O’Neal, other than Cal Ripken. Instead, our hometown hero will be Mickey, the circus clown.

Just a few weeks ago, First Mariner Arena hosted its biggest crowd for the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert. Everyone heard the crazy stories in the papers about die-hard fans doing outrageous things to get their 10-year-old daughters tickets. If we have a bigger arena, 5,000 more screaming preteens could have filed their way into the arena and shouted for the teen pop star sensation.

The point is, there really isn’t a disadvantage in having a bigger arena, except for the fact that the circus clown would no longer be the most loved entertainer among 3-year-olds in Baltimore anymore.

Smaller Arena Better Choice

By Sam Thornton

Baltimore should build a smaller arena instead of a bigger arena.

There aren’t many big companies to sponsor a major league team. Most of the bigger companies already sponsor teams like the Orioles, Ravens, Nationals, Redskins, Capitols and Wizards. It could attract tourists who are sports fans. Even if the team does get enough sponsors, they might quit working with Baltimore’s current teams so they can spend their money with the new teams. Teams like the O’s and Ravens will leave and go somewhere else, upsetting fans.

A smaller arena would bring more things to do in Baltimore, like shows. Baltimore could bring in a few minor league teams or D-league basketball teams instead of a major league team. If there are more teams there will be more games to go to and more things to do. Baltimore can always expand the arena, but if you start with a big arena you might not get a team or a team will leave.

Also if there is a smaller arena it will be better for concerts and other events like that. The sound will be louder and easier to hear in a smaller arena. You will also be better able to see what is going on.

Baltimore should start out small and get bigger as time goes by. If a pro team doesn’t end up coming or a team comes but has to leave, then Baltimore would have spent all that money for an empty arena. The smaller arena is better for this city for other reasons, and there are other things the arena could potentially be used for. Baltimore should add on to a smaller arena when there are more companies that can sponsor and spend money on a major league team.

Issue 3.5: January 31, 2008