January 28, 2013
Contact: University Relations
"Purple Fever" is spreading across the University of Baltimore campus! As the Baltimore Ravens prepare to take the global stage that is Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3, UB is with the team in spirit and more. Members of the UB community, for example, are weighing in on the Ravens' growing legacy, their impact on the city's psyche, the history of football in Baltimore, and so on:
"First of all, it's great that Baltimore has playoff teams in two sports now: It wasn't that long ago that we were cheering the Orioles' amazing run," said UB President Robert L. Bogomolny. "The Super Bowl presents a dilemma for me as a fan, because I've embraced the Ravens' underdog status and have gone into the last two playoff games thinking they'd face an uphill battle. So, in the great tradition of the superstitious fan, should I not change anything and keep that attitude, or should I feel completely confident in a Ravens victory? And don't forget that I'm originally from Cleveland, but that's another story. Go Ravens!"
Darlene Smith, dean of UB's Merrick School of Business, put it this way:
"The Ravens are loved by their fans, and it's great to see that they love us back. We invited their tight end, Dennis Pitta, to our school a few weeks ago, because interestingly we have a member of our business school faculty also named Dennis Pitta. We thought it would be fun to get them together—they hadn't met face to face, even though they sometimes get confused on Facebook and so on. Well, their Dennis and our Dennis really hit it off, and I thought: Not every NFL team would take the time for something like that.
"I'm a season-ticket holder, so maybe my fan bias is showing. But all of us here at UB think the Ravens are incredible—a real boost to our community, and this year an unbeatable combination of talent and desire. That's a great combination, in business, in sports and in life. Go Ravens!"
Stephen L. Percy, dean of the College of Public Affairs, also praised the team's presence beyond the gidiron:
"When we think of the Ravens, we must remember all the good things this teams provides to the city—a positive national visibility, a reason for Baltimore citizens to take pride in their home community and state, and a source of good will and philanthropic support intended to improve the life quality of children and adults. When we celebrate the Ravens we also celebrate our pride in Baltimore."
Dionne Koller, associate professor in the UB School of Law and director of its Center for Sport and the Law:
"As a business, the Ravens organization has been described as a 'significant economic engine,' reportedly supporting nearly 400 Maryland jobs that represents approximately $300 million in wages and $69 million in business sales. As taxpayers, the Ravens generate $8.9 million in income taxes and $6.6 million in sales taxes. That’s a lot of dollars and cents. They also help boost shops, restaurants, hotels and other small businesses that keep the local economy thriving," Koller said. "Those numbers are important to people who debate whether teams are economically 'good' for a city, but what all the counting and quantifying cannot capture is that at least for the City of Baltimore, the Ravens are not just a "franchise," and the impact of their Super Bowl appearance goes far beyond that which can be economically measured.
"The real impact is illustrated by the purple banners, lights, ties, T-shirts and jerseys that are all over Baltimore. The impact is evident in the spirit of community, and common connection, that a trip to the Super Bowl ignites. It is in the shared sense of pride and hopefulness that such an accomplishment brings. It is obvious in all those window flags that make cars look like they are part of a presidential motorcade, and the conversations with the guy who serves us lunch and says, 'How 'bout those Ravens?' The impact is measured by our joy and excitement in seeing the team and its players persevere, working and believing, so that they once again have reached the sport's grandest stage. That impact is far more fundamental than simply valuing what a sports franchise economically contributes to a city. So as they head to New Orleans, we send a collective thanks to the Ravens—not just for all the things they do for the city that we can count. We thank the team and its players because we are united in purple pride. That is, quite simply, priceless."
(Read Koller's essay on this subject.)
Edwin Gold, professor in the School of Communication Design, offered this perspective:
"The way the Ravens came to Baltimore—the Colts were taken away in the middle of the night, and everything about the team left town with them—presented an interesting problem that the team had to figure out: They had nothing to start with, not even a name, but they needed to win the love of football fans in Baltimore.
"It’s pretty clear that they've done that over the years. They've been run so effectively, and that includes their logo, their name and the way they look as a team. The Ravens have definitely made a connection with the fans. Their graphics, their logo—those things might not have all that much to do with their success as a team, but it's part of what I think has been very well managed and it's one of the reasons they've prospered here. The team logo is good, it always has been. It gets the job done. Compared to some other teams in professional sports, the Ravens have a pretty strong look."
Mike Gibbons, executive director of Baltimore's Sports Legends Museum and adjunct faculty in the B.A. in Digital Communication program, recently was interviewed by WBAL-TV for a piece on Ravens memorabilia. Here's a clip.