Royal Farms Arena is losing a longtime tenant, as indoor soccer’s Baltimore Blast has announced a move to Towson’s SECU Arena.
On Thursday, the Blast confirmed that they have secured a new facility for their home games during the 2017-18 Major Arena Soccer League season, the beginning of a three-year deal. The club’s new home venue is SECU Arena, the Towson University facility that is used for several sports, including the university’s men’s and women’s basketball programs.
It was in 1980 that the original Blast played their first game at Royal Farms Arena–then known as the Baltimore Civic Center–beginning a tradition that would last decades. Though the Blast speak highly of their time at Royal Farms Arena, the organization believes that the move to SECU Arena creates new opportunities. More from The Baltimore Sun:
While Blast owner Ed Hale applauded the relationship the franchise had with Royal Farms Arena and cherishes the great memories created there over the years, the appeal of a state-of-the-art arena at a location closer to the team’s core audience was too good to pass up. The two-time defending MASL champions will play their first home game there Nov. 10.
“We’re looking forward to a fresh start,” he said in his opening statement Thursday. “We’ll miss certain parts of Royal Farms Arena, but it’s time to turn the page and get this into a situation of defending our championship here.”
SECU Arena will be able to seat a little more than 4,000 fans for Blast games, considerably less than the 11,200 capacity at Royal Farms Arena. Determining factors for the move were SECU Arena’s location, more convenient parking (included in the game’s ticket price), cheaper concessions, and upgraded seating and sightlines to bring fans a more intimate experience.
“The people at Royal Farms Arena, previously First Mariner and Baltimore Arena, couldn’t have been better to us, but we look forward to a bright future,” Blast president and general manager Kevin Healey said. “We have a new arena with new graphics, a new sound system, a new lighting system — things that will create additional energy in the building. The location is fabulous for what we’re doing, and we think we’re going to bring a great product.”
In 2016, we noted the contribution the Blast made at Royal Farms Arena by providing a solid fan experience for their games. Royal Farms Arena originally opened in 1964, and discussions about replacing it with a more modern facility have taken place, but the venue has continued to draw high-profile acts in recent years. It also hosted the Arena Football League’s Baltimore Brigade for the first time this summer.