1st Mariner Arena

1st Mariner Arena

stadium_name = 1st Mariner Arena
nickname =

location = 201 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
broke_ground = 1961
opened = 1962
closed =
demolished =
owner = City of Baltimore
operator = SMG
surface =
construction_cost =
architect =
former_names = Baltimore Civic Center (1961-1986)
Baltimore Arena (1986-2003)
tenants = Baltimore Bullets (NBA) (1963-1973)
Baltimore Blades (WHA) (1974-1975)
Baltimore Skipjacks (AHL)(1981-1993)
Baltimore Thunder (MILL/NLL)(1987-1999)
Baltimore Bayrunners (IBL)(1999-2000)
Baltimore Blast (MISL I)(1980-1992)
Baltimore Spirit/Blast (NPSL/MISL II/NISL)(1992- present)
Baltimore Bandits (AHL) (1995-1997)
Baltimore Blackbirds (AIFA) (2007)
Baltimore Mariners (AIFA) (2008-future)
Baltimore Clippers (AHL/SHL) (1962-1977)
seating_capacity = 11,286 (Hockey)
12,289 (Basketball)
14,000 (Concert)

1st Mariner Arena (formerly known as the Baltimore Arena and as the Baltimore Civic Center), is an arena located in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2003, it was renamed by 1st Mariner Bank, which purchased naming rights to the arena for 10 years. It was reported that 1st Mariner Bank will need to pay the city $75,000 for the next ten years to keep the naming rights to the complex. 1st Mariner Bank Arena is located about a block away from the Baltimore Convention Center on the corner of Baltimore Street and Hopkins Place; it is also only a short distance from the Inner Harbor. It seats up to approximately 14,000 people though this number varies depending on the type of event.


The arena officially opened in 1962 as the Baltimore Civic Center. As a major cornerstone for the Inner Harbor redevelopment during the 1980s, it was reopened after renovations and was renamed the Baltimore Arena in 1986. The arena itself is 46 years old as of 2008 and is believed to be the oldest functioning arena in the country. It is owned by the city and is managed by SMG, a private management company. Annually, the 1st Mariner Bank Arena is host to 800,000 people.

A cornerstone to the arena was laid in the arena in 1961 with a vault that included messages from then-U.S. President John F. Kennedy, then-Maryland governor J. Millard Tawes, and then-Baltimore Mayor J. Harold Grady, the vault opened in 2006.

The current site that was chosen for the Baltimore Civic Center was actually not one of the many sites proposed to the Greater Baltimore Committee in 1955. Among nine suggested locations there were two in Druid Hill Park, three at the end of the Inner Harbor basin (where the World Trade Center and Harborplace are now located), and one in Clifton Park. [Report No. 5781 to Greater Baltimore Committee, Inc. on Proposed Civic Center for Baltimore, Nov 1, 1955. (via Enoch Pratt Free Library Maryland History dept.)]

Replacement of 1st Mariner Arena

On October 16, 2004, "The Baltimore Sun" revealed that an official step has started into replacing the 46-year-old 1st Mariner Arena. The Maryland Stadium Authority recently started soliciting proposals for a feasibility study on building an arena in downtown Baltimore, the request for proposals are due on November 1st, 2004. According to the request for proposals that was released, the new arena would be built in the same site of 1st Mariner Arena and "would have a smaller seating capacity than would be required for an NHL or NBA team" but it doesn't specify a specific seating capacity. (Source: [http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/bal-sp.arena16oct16,1,6216653.story Ideas solicited for city arena] Requires Site Registration)

On May 15th, 2007, "The Baltimore Sun" reported that the feasibility study that was started in 2004 has been released publicly and it states that the current arena has "served its useful life" and that Baltimore must build a new arena or face the risk of losing events. A proposal to repair the arena's aging systems was rejected, citing an estimated cost of $60 million and the study suggests the city to demolish 1st Mariner Arena and build a new arena on the same site or elsewhere in Baltimore. The proposed new arena would only seat 15,000 - 16,000 people, the study assumes that Baltimore will never be successful in attracting a NHL or NBA team in the future, either of which would require a minimum of 18,000 - 20,000 seats, however, city officials are open to the idea of the latter. The new arena could be successful in attracting an arena football and a minor league hockey team, bring more than 200 new jobs and generate up to $1 million in additional tax revenue. City officials are saying that the private sector would need to bear the brunt of the estimated $162 million construction cost of the new arena, the city is also considering giving up ownership of the arena. The Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) will, in the next month or so, begin seeking interested developers for the project. BDC's President M. J. "Jay" Brody said it was a "miracle" that the current arena books as many events as it does in its current state. City officials has said the location of the new arena would be dependent on what developers suggests, officials are equally comfortable in keeping the current arena, building the new arena in a new location, then demolishing the current arena and encourage a mixed-use development in the site of the current arena. Advocates for downtown, including the Downtown Partnership and the Westside Renaissance wants the new arena to remain in the downtown area. (Source: [http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_city/bal-te.md.ci.arena15may15002653,1,7651568,print.story?coll=bal-local-headlines] )

On November 18th, 2007, WJZ 13 reported that seven sites have been submitted to the BDC for a new arena, and the choices will be narrowed down by the Spring of 2008. (Source: [http://wjz.com/seenon/arena.baltimore.charm.2.570624.html] )

On July 24, 2008, it was reported that the new arena will be built on the same site as the current one, with capacity to go upwards of 18,500. It is unknown what will happen to concerts and events while construction gets underway, or who will develop the new arena. However, there have been talks about building a temporary facility for events. The arena will be completed within a three-year period. (Source: [http://www.wbaltv.com/news/16980285/detail.html?rss=bal&psp=news] )

On August 27, 2008, the Baltimore Sun reported that developers are looking for designers to build an apartment building and outdoor shopping stores to be apart of the new 1st Mariner Arena. Also, the developers are accepting all design proposals until November 26, 2008 and by the Summer of 2009, they plan to make a final design decision.

Events and tenants

The Arena has been host to many events, ranging from boxing, to music, to sports, to wrestling. In 1962 it was host to the boxing match of Joey Giardello vs. Johnny Morris. In 1963, the arena was host to a professional tennis match. Also in 1963, the arena was home to the Baltimore Bullets and was the host of the NBA All-Star Game in 1969.

In 1964, the arena was host to the the Beatles. The arena also hosted rock group Led Zeppelin several times through the early 1970s. A couple of scenes from the Led Zeppelin concert film "The Song Remains the Same" were filmed backstage. In 1986, the arena was host to the popular Italian Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti. Elvis Presley performed there twice, in November, 1971 and May, 1977.

In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 'gives a speech, "Race and the Church," before a gathering of Methodist clergy at the Baltimore Civic Center.' [ [http://www.ubalt.edu/template.cfm?page=1639 University of Baltimore: Riots and Rebirth Project Timeline] ]

The Baltimore Arena has been the home of the National Indoor Soccer League's Baltimore Blast since they arrived in the 1980-1981 season. Though the Blast went through a few league changes and a few name changes, the Baltimore Arena has always been it's home, providing an intimate setting for the thousands of fans who came out every game. The Blast won their first championship in the '83-'84 season which was attended by upwards of 11,200 fans. The Blast still plays at the now, 1st Mariner Arena, and just recently won their 4th championship in the last six years.

The Baltimore Arena was considered a cornerstone location for NWA/WCW wrestling, its northern capital so to speak. The Great American Bash pay-per-view was held at the arena eight times during the life of the promotion, and by the time WCW was bought by WWE, The Great American Bash had been in Baltimore for four of the five previous years. It also hosted WCW SuperBrawl 1995. On July 7th, 1990, Sting defeated Ric Flair to win his first World Championship at The Great American Bash.

The arena has also hosted many World Wrestling Entertainment events over the years. Most notably the 1994 King of the Ring, No Mercy 2003, No Way Out 2006 and Backlash 2008, as well as multiple Raw and SmackDown!/ECW tapings.

In 1989, the arena was host to the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships. Three years later, in 1992, the International Olympic Committee held the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials there. In 1995, the arena was host to the NCAA Men's Basketball Division 1 games (Rounds 1 & 2). In 1998, the arena was host to two popular singers, Shania Twain and Elton John. In 1999, the arena was host to concerts by Roger Waters and Janet Jackson. In 2000, the arena was host to three popular singers, Britney Spears, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw. In 2001, the arena was host to the Irish musical group U2.

In July 2004, the Arena was host to the US debut of Japanese rock band L'Arc-en-Ciel, as part of the anime and east Asian culture convention Otakon.

On December 3-4 2004, the 1st Mariner Arena hosted the last Vans Triple Crown Of Freestyle Motocross events in history. The Vans Of FMX recently stopped for FMX's placement in the Dew Tour and also A similar Vans of FMX event course can be found in IFMA Of Freestyle Motocross or the Vans Invitational track.

On February 1, 2006, the Arena hosted the first The Rolling Stones concert in Baltimore since 1969, which was also at the Arena. On November 13, 2006, the Arena hosted Guns N' Roses for their second time in Baltimore. GnR first played Baltimore (Hammerjacks) in the late 80's.

In 2007, Christina Aguilera brought her Back to Basics Tour to the arena. It was here that she also taped the concert for a DVD release of her live show. Finally, on August 8th, 2007, international star Beyonce Knowles visited the "Marena" (1st Mariner Areana) as a part of her tour for "The Beyonce Experience". In September 2007, the Top 10 finalists on the American Idols Live 2007 Tour performed here.

It was selected as the site of the 2006 Miss USA Pageant, for broadcast on live television.

On January 8th, 2008, Miley Cyrus performed there as part of her "Hannah Montana" tour.

The Arena also hosted a rally for presidential candidate Barack Obama on February 11, 2008.

Linkin Park also performed there for the first time February 19, 2008.


1st Mariner Arena is immediately adjacent to the University Center/Baltimore Street stop on the Baltimore Light Rail.


External links

* [http://www.baltimorearena.com/ Official website for 1st Mariner Arena]

succession box
title = Home of the
Baltimore Bullets
years = 1963 – 1973
before = Chicago Coliseum
after = Capital Centre
succession box
title = Host of the
NBA All-Star Game
years = 1969
before = Madison Square Garden
after = The Spectrum

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