Royal Farms Arena under new management after merger between AEG and SMG

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Photo by stephencearley, via Flickr

There’s a new global venue management firm running the show–all the shows–at Royal Farms Arena.

SMG, which has operated Royal Farms Arena since 1999, has merged with concert-management giant AEG to create a new venue management company, ASM Global, effective today, a release says.

“This marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our industry and one that will establish a new standard of excellence in managing live experiences,” Bob Newman, ASM’s newly named president and CEO, said in a statement.

SMG had been acquired by a Canadian private equity fund called Onex in a deal that closed in 2018, but the Philadelphia-based firm remained the operator of Baltimore’s arena downtown.

SMG, as part of a team with venue operator Live Nation, was picked to run MECU Pavilion (then called Pier Six Pavilion) in 2017. AEG, then a competitor, protested the city’s pick at the time, saying the Baltimore Development Corporation had changed its bidding terms midway through its search process.

AEG has run Rams Head Live at Power Plant since acquiring the venue from Rams Head Group in 2015.

Live Nation did not respond to requests for comment on the state of its partnership with SMG to operate MECU Pavilion, including how it will be affected by today’s announced merger.

This story has been updated. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated AEG had run Rams Head Live with Rams Head Group since 2015, when in fact AEG purchased the venue from Rams Head Group. It also misstated that AEG had previously operated Pier Six Pavilion. We regret the errors.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
Ethan McLeod
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  1. I think the biggest story here is that now competitors – AEG and Live Nation are would-be partners at Pier Six!

    ALSO, you are incorrect, The Rams Head Group isn’t involved at all anymore at Rams Head Live! AEG bought it out completely.

    Rams Head operated Pier Six for 10 years prior to losing bid to SMG/ Live Nation…not AEG.


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