Orioles hire Kerry Watson as public affairs VP; he’s first African American in club’s senior leadership team

As the Orioles continue lease negotiations with the state to remain at Oriole Park at Camden Yards beyond this year, they have hired Kerry Watson as vice president of public affairs. Watson, who worked 20 years as a Prince George’s County police officer and, recently, as an MGM Resorts executive, is the first African American on the Orioles’ senior leadership team.

In his role, Watson will oversee “Government Affairs, Communications, Community Development and Creative Content,” according to a news release from the Orioles.

The club also promoted Lisa Tolson, who has worked for the Orioles for 38 years, to chief people officer and longtime club executive Greg Bader to chief operating officer.

In a news release, Orioles Chairman and CEO John Angelos lauded the Orioles’ “incredible team.”

“The entire Orioles organization welcomes Greg, Kerry, and Lisa to their new executive positions as the Orioles continue our commitment to building a diverse and skilled senior leadership team managing the club,” he said in a statement.

There will be no departures from the Orioles’ leadership team as part of these changes.

The addition and promotions come at a critical juncture for the Orioles. The club, whose lease at Camden Yards expires Dec. 31, has been negotiating with its landlord, the state of Maryland, for years. A 2022 law, which passed through the General Assembly with support from both the Orioles and Ravens, would allow the Maryland Stadium Authority to fully access $600 million in bonds to improve Oriole Park — provided a long-term lease is signed.

Originally a 30-year lease when the ballpark opened in 1992, the agreement was extended in its final year, 2021, to this year. Officials in Gov. Wes Moore’s administration said recently that the goal is to agree not to another brief extension, but rather one that spans decades. The lease is crucial for many reasons, including that it formally binds the team to Baltimore.

Both the state and the club are hoping to develop the area around Oriole Park to create an entertainment district, which has become a popular trend in other cities. Moore, a Democrat, said last month that talks with the Orioles can produce a lease as well as a development plan.

Negotiations, though, have included significant asks from Angelos. He sought the development rights to three state-owned parking lots in the Camden Yards complex, which the Ravens also use, as well as $300 million more in public investment, sources told The Baltimore Sun.

The NFL’s Ravens are also a significant party to lease negotiations thanks to a parity clause in the pro teams’ leases, which prevents the state from giving a more advantageous arrangement to one team over the other.

Despite ongoing negotiations, both the Orioles and the state have said they are confident a deal will get done.

David Turner, a senior adviser and communications director for Moore, described the Orioles in a statement last month as “reliable, community-minded partners.”

“We are working together to secure the team’s future at Camden …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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