2023 VenuesNow All-Star New Build
CFG Bank Arena
More of a reimagining than a rebuild, CFG Bank Arena has brought live music back to Baltimore in a big way. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band performed a stunning, emotionally charged 28-song set for the grand opening of the arena in April, ushering in a community renaissance built on the power of performance.
“Bruce Springsteen knew what we were doing here. He felt as passionate about the city as we did and he made a decision to open the building for us. But once you book the Boss, you better make that date work,” laughed Tim Leiweke, chairman and CEO of Oak View Group, parent company of VenuesNow.
“The fact that we get to celebrate, as he calls it, ‘a hot sweaty hall’ where people can come and the acoustics are perfect and the fans and the artist both have a great time,” Leiweke said. “This is going to be a celebration and it’s the beginning of a very long journey where we can bring people together and make this a special place.”
CFG Bank Arena, a 14,000-seat facility, is owned and operated by OVG. The $250 million project, a private investment, is a partnership with the Baltimore Development Corporation, Fundamental Advisors and Thirty Five Ventures, co-founded by NBA star and Maryland native Kevin Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman, plus Grammy award-winning artist Pharrell Williams.
“We did in 18 months what folks couldn’t get done in 35 years, and we did it for the price of ‘free.99’ for the taxpayers of Baltimore,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “We are going to be a mecca for music and entertainment. This is what we’re talking about, showing the renaissance of Baltimore.” He hailed the public-private partnership that brought a “$200 million investment into the heart of the city.”
“People can talk about, ‘This is a beginning. This is a renaissance. This is a rebuild.’ I don’t see it that way at all,” said Leiweke, who was the youngest general manager in pro sports in 1980 when he launched his career with the MISL’s Baltimore Blast at the arena he’s now resurrected. “I see it as what a public/private partnership should be: about a community that is in fact, Charm City.”