The Baltimore Ravens are in danger of playing their season opener on the road due to a scheduling conflict with the Baltimore Orioles that has even led Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to offer to compensate the Orioles for any lost revenue, Bisciotti told Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun on Monday.
Hosting the regular season opener is a privilege that has been given to the Super Bowl winner every year since Roger Goodell took over as the commissioner of the NFL, but the Sept. 5 game would interfere with an Orioles home game against the Chicago White Sox scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. ET. The adjacent stadiums share a parking lot, making the scenario of simultaneous games impossible.
While Bisciotti is reportedly willing to front the bill for the Orioles, the problem for the team goes deeper than revenue, as Zrebiec reports that it's a baseball issue rather than a money issue that is the source of the hang-up, and Katy Freeney, the MLB senior vice president for club relations and scheduling, discussed the potential problems of a schedule shuffle:
"It doesn't just involve the Orioles. There is another team," Feeney said. "I think mainly, from a baseball standpoint, to make that change is extremely difficult. The White Sox would take a broadcast revenue hit and the O's would take a broadcast revenue and attendance hit. And there is a baseball operations impact. Conceivably both teams could be in playoff contention, so it wouldn't be fair to them to make them play a day game after both teams played a night game and traveled the night before.
"We make accommodations in our scheduling in the postseason. We work with the NFL. But this was something that was brought to us as a possibility just three weeks or a month ago. We always want to work with whoever wants to work with us, but why should these teams be punished?"
Goodell has already ruled out the possibility of playing the game on Wednesday, Sept. 4, instead, as it conflicts with the first day of the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah. With the NFL league meetings underway in Phoenix, Ariz., and a full schedule set to be released in the coming weeks, the time for an alternative may be drawing near for the NFL.