Events to Expect at CFG Bank Arena

| March 29, 2023 | 0 Comments

The renovated CFG Bank Arena, which will reopen on April 7th for the Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band 2023 Tour, already has a busy stream of events booked. Following the approximately $250-million renovation of the arena by Oak View Group (OVG), a diverse schedule of events is planned for the Downtown Baltimore venue.

“Baltimore is an easy market to sell, but the previous building made it tough,” said CFG Bank Arena General Manager Frank Remesch, who has worked in the building for 35 years. “We now have an A building in an A market. There’s no show we can’t have.”

The arena has been closed since March 2021 for the renovation.

Remesch said seeing the renovated arena makes him feel like “a kid on Christmas.” He also noted the new amenities in the building, which include suites, bars, upgraded concessions, a commercial kitchen, a club level, upgraded acoustics, open concourses, new seats, and new bathrooms, will help sell tickets.

Remesch said CFG Bank Arena will primarily be a building for concerts, but noted OVG will go after sporting events as well. He said the arena is looking to host 130 shows per year, up from the pre-COVID level of 105 shows. He also said ticket sales should increase from less than 600,000 per year to more than 1,000,000 per year.

Events already lined up for CFG Bank Arena include concerts by Chris Stapleton, Lizzo, blink-182, and Queen; comedy shows hosted by Adam Sandler and Bert Kriescher; and special events including Dude Perfect, Monster Jam, AEW Dynamite, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s The Greatest Show On Earth.

New shows are being added to the schedule weekly.

When it comes to sports, Remesch said they will go after the first round of NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, Wizards games, Capitals games, University of Maryland Men’s Basketball games, MMA, boxing, and tennis.

For the Wizards and Capitals, Remesch said they are interested in preseason and/or regular season games.

The CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments are currently scheduled for CFG Bank Arena, and Remesch said they will consider adding additional major and mid-major basketball tournaments.

Remesch said patrons will not see minor league sports such as the Baltimore Blast, minor league hockey, and arena football at CFG Bank Arena. He said they need to keep days open for high-grossing concerts.

Remesch said he’s open to other events as long as it makes sense for the arena and the event organizer.

The stage on the south end of the arena was demolished and is currently an open space for touring artists to build their own stages and for sporting events to build out temporary seating. Remesch noted the previous stage was  a “huge” burden for the arena and created seats with sightline issues. The removal of the stage has allowed capacity to increase from 12,289 to 14,000.

For a larger sporting event like the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, Remesch said he could see a large bleacher built in the south end or a mix of VIP hospitality and seating, but it will be up to the event organizer. He noted for an MMA event in the past, a 21-row bleacher was built on the south end of the arena.

Panels were also removed from the ceiling and the ceiling now has exposed rafters that were originally built by a “bridge builder,” according to Remesch. This allows shows to hang things from the ceiling. Electrical improvements in the arena will additionally prevent shows from having to bring generators.

The demolition of the stage and new infrastructure improvements also allows for the arena to turn shows over quicker in terms of set up and tear down. For example, the Eagles Hotel California Tour takes place on April 8th which is the day after Springsteen.

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