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M&T Bank Stadium

M&T Bank Stadium is the home to the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore's National Football League franchise. Opened in 1998, M&T Bank Stadium is one of the newest and most state-of-the-art stadiums built. M&T Bank Stadium was originally known as Ravens Stadium at Camden Yards, until ISP PSINet acquired the naming rights in 1999, naming it PSINet Stadium. It then reverted back to Ravens Stadium in 2002 when PSINet filed for bankruptcy. In 2003 M&T Bank acquired naming rights to the stadium. Two other companies were in the running to be granted naming rights to the stadium; they were reportedly, Nextel and CarMax. Following the September 2002 death of Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas, public sentiment leaned toward renaming the then-sponsorless stadium after the Baltimore icon. However, the Ravens and the Maryland Stadium Authority held firm in their right to negotiate naming rights fees. In the end, a plaza on the stadium's northwest corner was named "Unitas Plaza", complete with a bronze statue of the Hall of Famer.

Located in downtown Baltimore, the stadium is immediately adjacent to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles. The stadium is served by the Hamburg Street station of the Baltimore Light Rail.

The stadium originally featured a natural grass surface. An artificial surface, Sportexe Momentum Turf, was installed for the 2003 football season.

In Popular Culture

The stadium served as the home field for the fictional Washington Sentinels in the 2000 film The Replacements with Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman (ironically, it was called Nextel Stadium). The stadium was also supposed to be the location of the football game in the 2002 film The Sum of All Fears and included footage of the presidential motorcade going to the building. However, the stadium used for the aerial shots is the domed Olympic Stadium in Montreal, a detail faithful to the original novel, in which the stadium was domed.

Tenants

On October 28,2006, the stadium held a contest between Notre Dame and Navy in which Notre Dame won 38-14 and in 2007 the stadium held the Army-Navy game for the second time.

The stadium also serves as an alternate venue for the Johns Hopkins University's men's lacrosse team, and was the site of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship in 2003, 2004 and 2007. Major League Lacrosse's Baltimore Bayhawks used the stadium as their home during the 2002 season.

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) holds the four state football championships for Maryland's public high schools at M&T Bank Stadium.

Two very important Baltimore high school rivalry games are also held at the stadium every November. Baltimore City College plays Baltimore Polytechnic Institute every November, in one of the oldest high school football rivalries in the United States. Every Thanksgiving, Loyola Blakefield and Calvert Hall College also square off in what has now been called for many years as the Turkey Bowl. Fans for both games reach up to 13,000 people.

Both games were once played back-to-back on Thanksgiving Day at Memorial Stadium. However, when City College and Polytechnic joined the MPSSAA before 1994 season, the game was forced to be played in early November, due to MPSSAA rules and playoff schedule.

Other notable event

After the August 16, 2008 preseason game between the Ravens and the Minnesota Vikings, fans were invited to remain at the stadium to watch the live broadcast of the 4x100-meter freestyle relay at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Michael Phelps, a Baltimore native, won his eighth gold medal (a record for a single Olympics) in that event. The screening was sponsored by NBC affiliate WBAL-TV.

It is interesting to note that, when NBC rebroadcast the videotape later, the graphics referred to this venue as Ravens Stadium, either because M&T and USOC sponsor Bank of America are competitors or more likely because official Olympic entities cannot use corporate names.

See also

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