Oak View Group (OVG), the global venue development, advisory, and investment company for both the sports and live entertainment industries, today announced an exclusive multi-year arena naming rights agreement with CFG Bank (CFGB), the largest bank headquartered in Baltimore, to rename the city’s most anticipated live entertainment and sports venue. CFG Bank Arena, located in Baltimore, MD, is projected to open in February 2023 and host more than 120 major events annually. The announcement comes the day following the original building’s 60th anniversary (Oct. 23, 1962).
In addition to securing naming rights to the arena, CFG Bank’s agreement includes prominent exterior and interior signage, exclusive benefits to CFG Bank clients, cardholders, and team members, and the launch of a new community engagement program. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. This is the first stadium or arena sponsorship for CFG Bank.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Oak View Group and secure the naming rights for Baltimore Arena, now CFG Bank Arena,” said Bill Wiedel, CFG Bank CEO & president. “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. We have grown tremendously over the years, and CFG Bank Arena reinforces our commitment to Baltimore and our leadership position in the banking industry. 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.”
Headquartered in Baltimore, MD, CFG Bank is a locally and solely owned, FDIC-insured bank that provides commercial, personal, and online banking solutions to the Mid-Atlantic business community, national cannabis industry, and national healthcare market. CFG Bank offers niche financing, leverage lending, and equipment financing and leasing for its clients. With extensive lending capacity, competitive rates, and decades of industry experience, CFG Bank proudly delivers big bank capabilities and expertise with relationship-driven, boutique bank service through its full suite of commercial banking solutions. In addition to its headquarters, CFG Bank has branches in Lutherville and Baltimore City, and a commercial office in Annapolis.
“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,” said Tim Leiweke, chairman and CEO of Oak View Group and leader of the arena project. “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.”
In partnership with The Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC), Fundamental Advisors, and Thirty Five Ventures (35V), co-founded by Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman, and 13-time GRAMMY award-winning global superstar Pharrell Williams, the event included brief remarks from Wiedel, Leiweke, Williams, as well as Pro Hall of Famer and former Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis Jr.; Mayor Brandon M. Scott, City of Baltimore; Oak View Group; Dan Griffis, president of Global Partnerships, Oak View Group.
"I have said this on many occasions - there is a renaissance happening here in Baltimore. 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,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott, City of Baltimore.
Once fully renovated, the world-class modern arena will serve as a key anchor on downtown Baltimore’s west side and help drive further investment and development in the area. As part of the planned renovations, OVG, Fundamental Advisors and 35V will fully fund the cost of the arena’s total reconstruction through a combination of private debt and equity, which in aggregate is estimated to be $200 million. In return, they will lease the building for the next 30 years through an entity called Baltimore Arena Co.
Renovations to the arena include the removal of the permanent stage, adding seats and suites, refurbishing concourses, upgrading concessions areas, and changing the building’s appearance. Additional upgrades to the facility will include focuses on sustainability such as using locally sourced materials, LED lighting, low flow and waterless fixtures, and more; world-class acoustics to amplify the audio experience; next-generation touchless and self-serve technologies for food & beverage and merchandise purchases to minimize transaction times; renovations to the venue’s back of house; structural, mechanical, electrical, lighting and fire protection upgrades; as well as construction encompassing, plumbing, electrical, fire protection, lighting; and updates to the arena’s telecommunications infrastructure, wireless network, and video/network/security systems.
The new arena will enable Baltimore to contend for more events, driving significant economic growth for the city. The project’s delivery will also serve as a boon to the local economy and is anticipated to create approximately 500 jobs over the 12 months of construction. Committed to prioritizing participation from small, local, and diverse businesses throughout the construction process, the team has set a goal to award 27% and 10% of construction subcontracts to Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) and Women's Business Enterprises (WBE), respectively. SCI architects is the lead designer on the project. OVG also focused on diversity in the financing of the project ensuring Minority Depository Institutions were among its lending partners. Harbor Bank of Maryland, a Black bank headquartered in Baltimore, is serving as a member of the loan syndicate led by Truist Bank.
Located at 201 W. Baltimore Street, CFG Bank Arena will host dozens of concerts; family shows; community, corporate, and private events; and sporting events such as UFC, tennis, boxing, NBA exhibition games, NCAA events, tournaments, and more. Once fully renovated, CFG Bank Arena will accommodate 14,000 guests.
CFG Bank Arena is scheduled to open in 2023 in advance of the CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments (February 20-26, 2023). Other already announced events for CFG Bank Arena include a sold-out Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band performance on April 7, 2023, and the newly reunited blink-182 on May 26, 2023.
CFG Bank was advised on the deal by Playfly Premier Partnerships.