With acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Lionel Richie, Janet Jackson, New Edition and Queen already rocking its venue, CFG Bank Arena seems to be striking the right chord with bands and audiences.

Seven months after the unveiling of the $250 million revamped venue, it’s also receiving big, international praise.

Billboard magazine announced that among venues with a capacity of less than 15,000, CFG Arena was the tenth highest-grossing venue in the world and number four in North America. In 2009, the venue ranked first in North America.

“CFG Bank Arena has claimed its stake as a power player among national and international venues,” Frank Remesch, general manager of CFG Bank Arena, said in a prepared statement. “Baltimore has made its mark in the industry and has proven itself as a premier entertainment destination. We’re now on the radar of every promoter and tour, both on a national and international level, and are continuing to book first-rate talent.”

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The $250 million privately funded renovation and name change — we’re trying to forget that it was once called Royal Farms Arena — has breathed new life into the once-famed space.

A big part of that goes to Oak View Group, the California-based development and management company, with a vast cadre of arenas and venues it has built or operates across the country.

Remesch is projecting that the arena will attract one million people a year — up from the 560,000 a year that came to Royal Farms Arena prior to the pandemic shutdown.

The new enhancements will allow the arena to realize the true potential of the space and hold more concerts and events, according to Remesch. Before the pandemic, the arena was able to host 105 events a year. In the future, Remesch expects to host 130.

The reimagined interior of the arena now features opulence in common spaces — something that was lacking before the renovation project. Concourses now have lounge-like settings with sleek, comfy couches, ornate lighting and dark, moody colored walls that give the space an elevated, warm and cozy feel.

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The venue boasts 38 suites — 26 bunker suites and 12 party suites. Each comfortably seats about 16 guests. The arena previously had two.

And with the new unobstructed views, guests can now watch the concert or event while waiting on the concourse to purchase food or beverages.

And changes are still occurring at the venue. Last week, Nineteen 62 Club, a stylish, moody VIP space accented with gold high-top tables and neon swirling lights, was unveiled at the arena.

Next week, the arena will welcome Mariah Carey in all her holiday glory, and then rapper Lil Wayne for concerts.

“It may be cold outside, but we’re keeping it lit all month long,” the venue’s recent Instagram post reads.

John-John Williams IV is a diversity, equity and inclusion reporter at The Baltimore Banner. A native of Syracuse, N.Y. and a graduate of Howard University, he has lived in Baltimore for the past 17 years. 

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