A rendering shows what the Baltimore Arena could look like after renovations are completed by 2023. The renovated arena will be able to accommodate 14,000 guests for concerts, sporting events and more. Rendering courtesy of SCI Architects.

The live entertainment and sports venue formerly known as Royal Farms Arena is being renamed CFG Bank Arena and is expected to open in February 2023 after renovations, developers announced Monday.

CFG Bank, the largest bank headquartered in Baltimore, reached a multi-year arena naming rights agreement with development company Oak View Group.

The agreement comes after Royal Farm’s naming rights for the arena expired at the end of May, WJZ-TV reported. The venue has since been referred to as Baltimore Arena.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Oak View Group and secure the naming rights for Baltimore Arena, now CFG Bank Arena,” CFG Bank CEO and president Bill Wiedel said in a statement. “We are so much more than a traditional bank and this partnership is a great example of our entrepreneurial approach and how we do things differently to make change happen for the better.”

The bank will also have prominently displayed signage inside and outside of the arena; receive “exclusive benefits” for CFG’s clients, cardholders, and employees; and launch a new community engagement program as part of the agreement.

Oak View Group estimated in June that the arena renovation project will cost $200 million, with funding including an investment from Grammy award-winning musical artist Pharrell Williams.

Wiedel said the naming agreement is another part of CFG Bank’s dedication to Baltimore.

“We have grown tremendously over the years, and CFG Bank Arena reinforces our commitment to Baltimore and our leadership position in the banking industry,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to support the growth of Baltimore through the excitement and benefits CFG Bank Arena will bring to our community and our clients.”

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement.

This is the first stadium or arena that CFG Bank has sponsored.

Oak View Group chairman and CEO Tim Leiweke welcomed CFG Bank as a partner in the arena’s transformation.

“CFG Bank has had a long-standing presence in the Baltimore area for nearly 100 years, and we are pleased to have them on board as our naming rights partner,” Leiweke, who is also the leader of the arena project, said in a statement. “CFG Bank understands our vision for the project and recognizes the economic need for a modern world-class arena. CFG Bank Arena will be a major destination for the biggest shows and be life-changing for the entire community.”

Mayor Brandon Scott reiterated that the arena renovation is part of Baltimore’s revival.

“I have said this on many occasions – there is a renaissance happening here in Baltimore,” Scott said in a statement. “People from all over see what we have long known and that is Baltimore is a great place for entertainment and recreation, and this new era for the Baltimore Arena, as well as the investment by Oak View Group and CFG Bank, speaks volumes about the commitment we all have to build a better Baltimore.”

Based in Los Angeles, Oak View Group was selected in 2021 to renovate and operate the arena.

Crews began the renovation project earlier this year, with a construction camera tracking their progress.

Renovations involve interior and exterior enhancements, including improved acoustics; new and additional seats; touchless and self-serve technologies for purchases of food, beverages, and merchandise; a lower deck bar area; and more.

The renovated arena will have capacity for 14,000 guests.

Developers expect the improvements will make the arena a world-class venue for live entertainment and sporting events.

The arena will host the Intercollegiate Athletic Association Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments again in February 2023.

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band will be the first musical artists to perform at the arena in April 2023, after renovations are completed.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...

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