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January 4, 2010

1st Mariner named best arena of its size in the U.S.

1st mariner arenaThe 1st Mariner Arena is the top arena of its size in the U.S., according to industry publications Billboard Magazine and Venues Today.

After a star-studded year which included performances from Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce and Jay-Z, the aging venue took the No. 1 spot for arenas with capacities from 10,001 to 15,000.

The results were based on the number of tickets sold and gross revenue, according to Frank Remesch, 1st Mariner's general manager.

"We had a heck of a run this year," Remesch said. "I wouldn't say I'm surprised, but I'm proud. ... This is a neat feeling." ...

Last year, Billboard Magazine named 1st Mariner No. 3, behind Boardwalk Hall Arena in Atlantic City and the MGM Grand's Garden Arena in Las Vegas. This year's award shows that Baltimore is finally coming out of Washington's shadow and establishing itself as a legitimate market for A-list bands, Remesch said.

"It says more about Baltimore than it does about the arena," Remesch said. "If people from Baltimore and the surrounding area keep supporting the events, I can keep bringing better events. It's an endless good cycle."

(Photo courtesy of Jamie Curtis)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:29 PM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Local music


get a real arena and you'll really see interest.

Sam -
Maybe you can look into why the arena refused to sell the $12 seats to the PBR event on Friday night.

I looked into buying seats ahead of time through Ticketmaster, but decided to skip all those fees and buy directly at the arena. The event was more of a novelty, so my friends and I decided on the cheap seats. "Not available", we were told, even though they were listed on the venue's seating map at the ticket counter.

Well, once we got inside, the cheap seat sections I researched on Ticketmaster (certain areas of the 300 level) were nearly empty.

The arena blocked access to the available seats to force people to buy more expensive tickets. There was no notification on Ticketmaster or the arena website that stated the $12 tickets were available online only.

After that, I can think of another No. 1 they deserve.

Err... that would be Saturday night. The past week was kind of a blur...

Great. #1. I'm ecstatic. So what does that bring us? A Final Four? Hockey? Preseason NBA games?

Sounds like the Civic Center should be maintained and upgraded to keep it such an exclusive venue. It has MUCH history.
My first ever concert was there. I saw the Beatles. Keep and upgrade. Sell "sky boxes" for concerts. Baltimore and surrounding areas all have a rich music history.

Did they tear down every other arena that fits into this category?

What an epic FAIL who ever thinks that eye sore is a better venue than the MGM Grand in Vegas should be taken out into the street and shot.

clearly this is based on revenue and not the quality of the arena--- that place is horrible and disgusting. I won't even go there. Its absolutely second rate.


I've been in many areans around the country and the dump on Baltimore Street is the worst of the bunch. It was outdated when the Capital Centre was built in 1973. It was outdated when the Spectrum opened in the late '60's in fact, it was outdated the day it opened in 1961.

Dallas, Houston, Denver, Cleveland, Washington, Atlanta and Philadelphia have built, torn down and built newer arenas in the lifetime of the Baltimore Arena.

Compare the events in Baltimore with the arenas in those cities and you'll see; When a big act comes to Baltimore, it's the exception, not the rule.

This is like winning a contest for having the country's best cats: No matter how great they are, they are still not as wonderful as dogs.

It's all well and good that we can support a Jay-Z concert, but it's far more important that we can support an NBA and/or an NHL franchise, as we undoubtedly could. Yet we will never get one if we don't have a bigger and better facility.

I realize that this is Baltimore, and thus against progress in any form, but for once let's stop thinking small right from the start and build ourselves a first rate sports and entertainment arena.

If possible, smack in between the two stadia would be the perfect place for the new arena, There is little point in doing a first class project in a second class manner.

Am I dreaming or was the city thinking of tearing down this gem and replacing it with something else? Why fix what ain't broke.

This article should be re-titled as "Baltimore wins A-List Band award despite the obsolete 1st Mariner Arena"

The place is a complete dump. Any major city should be embarrassed to call that dump their arena,

I started going to this place when it was called the Civic Center. I have been there to see the Baltimore Bullets, Baltimore Clippers, Baltimore Blast, Monster Trucks, Kiss, Edgar Winter, Barnum and Bailey Circus, Car Shows, Ric Flair of wrestling fame to name a few.

I'm so old now I can't remember all of the rest ahahahaahahahah. I grew up in South Baltimore and my name is Chipper. Post a little note if you remember all of these or me, I know there are still a few of you out there.

The Arena has always been a good old gal and seems to reinvent herself from time to time. I hope she has a much longer run then this......Go Girl Go!

I guess they never have been there! It is a dump! Ugly, dirty , cramped and lacking fan services. The lower bowl does have ok sight lines if you are not sitting on the side with a end stage show. And the sound is decent, but it is one crappy venue that needs to be replaced.

i have missed many an event in this arena because the seats r 4 those that r of junior high height and weight. do people really need to be crammed in that tightly for the arena to find a way 2 make a profit?

WOOOOOHOOOOOOO! You know what this means? Women's professional roller-derby and the finals to Biggest Loser are in the works! HIP-HIP-HORRAY! Harm city rocks!
Forgive my sarcasm - I just couldn't resist when someone said "A Final Four? Hockey? Preseason NBA games?" and I thought I would add to the fantasy. On a good day, the place is a dump.

It sounds like 1st MA's GM Frank Remesch needs a BIG raise, because this place is not very nice. I'm not saying it needs to be torn down, but huge renovations need to be made. Its almost in the epicenter of the city.. I saw Obama speak there during the primaries which as pretty cool.

Nice to see the pride that Baltimoreans have for their city. Very classy comments.

Wally- I think Ron (comment #4) was being sarcastic, mentioning what a new arena would bring us.

Jojoman-The cities you mention all have permanent tenants (NBA and NHL teams) and that income usually helps pay the cost of building a new arena. I agree with you; if there a money to be made with a bigger arena, Baltimore would not be bypassed.

Fang Guy-Baltimore city officials have plans to build a new NBA/NHL-ready arena on the current site once the economy gets better. Getting a pro team after building the arena is a big 'if', whether or not we could "undoubtedly" support it.

HLittle - I bought $12 seats to the PBR on Saturday night. Walked up, asked for the cheapest seats available, and had no problems getting 5 together.

What a shocker: attract A-list performers and people show up and sell out the place. Yes, the arena is outdated, but if the people responsible for booking acts continue to attract the likes of Springsteen and Jay-Z, then the Arena will continue to draw large groups of customers. If you book Monster Truck rallys and C-list entertainment, then the people will stay away in droves.

On another note, since we once had a basketball team and lost it to DC b/c of attendance problems and since we once had a minor league hockey team that was moved b/c of attendance problems, how will either be supported by a new sports arena? Rather than build a new arena, the current one should be kept and given a facelift/update on the interior and all talk about attracting the NHL and/or NBA should be dropped. Both leagues have 30+ teams and really don't need to expand yet again.

The Balto. Claws would probably come back if Obama hadn't poluted the place with his presence!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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