Home > About > News


Baltimore Business Journal April 19th, 2021

UMBC, Chesapeake Employers' Insurance ink 15-year deal for arena naming rights

Read Full Article Here

UMBC Announces Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena

April 19th, 2021 - The dazzling new home of UMBC Athletics and the premier entertainment venue in southwest Baltimore County is getting a belated third birthday gift – a brand new name.

The facility will now be known as Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena.

Previously known as the UMBC Event Center, Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena opened in February 2018. Six weeks later, the UMBC men’s basketball team celebrated its remarkable NCAA Tournament victory before frenzied supporters on its hardwood floor.

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the Retriever volleyball team compete in the state-of-art facility. Additionally, all 400-plus UMBC student-athletes regularly utilize the building’s academic, strength and conditioning, sports medicine, and other athletics’ department services.

Oak View Group Facilities manages and operates Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena, securing and scheduling concerts, family shows, conventions, trade shows, all UMBC commencement ceremonies, and community events such as cheerleading competitions, career and job fairs, and more. In just three short years, OVG Facilities has entertained over 400,000 people at more than 300 events in the venue. OVG Facilities, in partnership with many of the top concert promoters and live content providers, helped bring Bob Dylan, Shinedown, for King and Country, the Avett Brothers, The Millennium Tour, Rob Thomas, all sold out performances, as well as the late Charlie Daniels, Travis Tritt and The World Famous Harlem Globetrotters to UMBC.

UMBC President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski said, "The partnership between UMBC and Chesapeake Employers Insurance represents not only an investment in our campus, but also in the region. This is an opportunity to elevate our facility, our University, and our local economy."

“We at Chesapeake Employers Insurance are honored to partner with UMBC, a premier University System of Maryland institution,” says Tom Phelan, CEO of Chesapeake Employers Insurance. “This partnership bridges our corporation with UMBC students, staff, and alumni to form a symbiotic relationship with shared values and a commitment to excellence relevant to education and business.”

In addition to naming rights, this partnership establishes a platform for UMBC and Chesapeake Employers Insurance to engage in additional collaborations, including opportunities for student internships and hiring, and applied research projects.

UMBC Director of Athletics Brian Barrio said, “We are building a program where we can celebrate community, while we help welcome new students and prepare them for meaningful careers, and welcome alumni home. This building, Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena, is a central part of that vision. And great visions require great partners.”

“We’re extremely proud of what we’ve been able to do here in Baltimore,” said OVG Facilities’ Tiffany Sun, General Manager, Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena. “By securing some of the biggest names in live entertainment, we’re bringing people into Baltimore and onto campus to see this wonderful University. We look forward to working closely with UMBC and our new naming rights partners at Chesapeake Employers Insurance to continue creating memories for the region.”

About Chesapeake Employers Insurance

Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company is Maryland’s largest writer of workers’ compensation insurance. It is a nonprofit, non-stock, private corporation. Chesapeake Employers has served as a continuous, guaranteed source for fairly priced workers’ compensation insurance since 1914.

About UMBC

UMBC is a leading public research university known for innovative teaching, relevant research across disciplines, and a supportive community that empowers and inspires inquisitive minds. UMBC combines the learning opportunities of a liberal arts college with the creative intensity of a top research university. The University serves 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and is one of the country’s most inclusive education communities. U.S. News & World Report has named UMBC a national leader in innovation and undergraduate teaching, and Times Higher Education has honored UMBC for social and economic impact.

About UMBC Athletics

UMBC sponsors 17 intercollegiate athletics programs at the NCAA Division I level. The “Retrievers” are members of the America East Conference. In addition to the men’s basketball team’s recent acclaim, the Retriever men’s soccer team reached the NCAA College Cup (national semi-finals) in 2015, and the men’s lacrosse, softball, and men’s swimming and diving teams won America East titles in their most recent year of competition.

About Oak View Group

OVG Facilities is successful in delivering new event content and programming opportunities for its clients. The company is experiencing a 587% growth since 2018, including 10 new accounts in 2020. OVG is currently working on six new arena construction projects, including the Seattle Kraken’s Climate Pledge Arena, and the New York Islanders’ UBS Arena, both of the National Hockey League; as well as the new arena in Manchester, England Co-op Live the Moody Center on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin, the Coachella Valley Arena in Coachella Valley, CA, and the new 9,500-seat multi-purpose arena in Savannah, GA.

Oak View Group Facilities, a division of the Oak View Group, was founded by Irving Azoff, Tim Leiweke, and supported by Silverlake. The company specializes in event programming, venue assessments, and security and emergency preparedness. Oak View Group Facilities can also provide full management services for arenas, stadiums, convention centers, and performing arts centers. Oak View Group is the largest developer of sports and entertainment facilities in the world with $4.5 billion of deployed capital across eight projects.

The Retriever September 19th, 2019

The Avett Brothers: A Southern Time Capsule at the Event Center
Written by: Kiara Bell

Faded denim, t-shirts and scattered 24 oz cans of Coors Lite Beer. Scalpers flash tickets to the fans who arrive in boatloads. At the booth, two staffers distribute from the stacks of red and blue “Will Call” tickets. This was the scene outside the UMBC Event Center last Friday night.
Inside, three-time Grammy-nominated band, The Avett Brothers, are preparing to take the stage. The venue is packed. The audience stands shoulder to shoulder in the lower and upper seating levels, the buzz of excited chatter dominates the air. The band appears promptly at 8 p.m. — spotlights dim, fans rush as close as they can get to the stage.
The music is southern and simple but captures the complex highs and lows of everyday life. The Avett Brothers sing about family, friends, magic, love and heartbreak. At times it is just the band’s two brothers, Seth and Scott Avett, and other times the brothers are joined by their four accompanying members: drums, piano, cello and bass.
By the third song, The Avett Brothers are showing off their musical capabilities. Scott Avett, clad in a plain white tee, arms himself with a four-string banjo and begins to pick a rhythmic tune. Couples in the audience hang on to each other and sway to the soft folk music. Their music is like a time capsule — the brothers pine for love, acceptance and happiness.
The majority of the set is acoustic, which allows for each of the band’s instruments to shine. Two acoustic guitars, one electric guitar, one banjo, three pianos, a drum set, a violin, an electric bass, as well as an upright double-bass played by band member Joe Crawford.
And in their more upbeat songs, the bass drum shakes the floor and calls the crowd to their feet. The vocal harmonies of Scott and Seth reverberate nicely, and here and there the violin sings out with them.
When Seth Avett takes the stage alone and flips his six-string over his chest, the fans lose it. A blue spotlight singles him out as he sings a cover of “Her Eyes Dart Around” by the Felice Brothers.
“And her eyes dart ’round and fall on the ground/ And her lips move along to an old country song,” he sings. In the crowd behind me, a girl swoons. “He’s so cute!” For effect, Seth holds the guitar over his shoulder and plucks slowly. There’s a pendant on his string necklace that makes him appear ordinary.
Towards the later part of the night, the band performs a slower song called, “Who Will I Hold.” Fans sing the words, lyric for
lyric. “Now, these victims of love, most hopeless of all/ The fortunate prisoners in an infinite war/ They turn on themselves, it’s pure sabotage/ Silver spoon babies with Tupperware hearts.” In waves, the audience holds up lighters and smartphone flashlights.
For the next song, Seth Avett slings a cherry red Les Paul over his shoulder. The guitar’s tones are clean and crisp until halfway through the song he takes center stage in a fiery solo. This is akin to an epic rock ballad, along the lines of Lynryd Skynyrd’s hit song “Free Bird.”
Seth ends his solo and sings out in falsetto. The stage lights glow red and sweep across the crowd. In front of me, a short brunette wearing a pair of blue overalls and dirty white converse claps along and stomps her feet. It seems as though she is lost in the music along with her peers.
Meanwhile, Scott Avett has taken a seat at one of the three on-stage pianos, where he plays along and contributes vocals to his brother. As the epic continues, the band becomes absorbed into the fun they are having.
The fedora-wearing drummer with his tie undone, the cellist who spins his instrument around and sings along to the words with the quiet pianist. Then Seth Avett launches into another guitar solo. He exits to stage right, protected by a small security entourage, and makes his way through the large crowd.
He’s up the stairs, moving through the second level seating areas while bending and hammering on the strings. He gives the audience the works and they take it in with gratitude. Nearby, a gray-haired man closes his eyes and does his own air guitar solo.
The song ends on a jagged, crunchy arpeggio. “Thank you very much!” Seth shouts. But the set isn’t over. The last song of the night is slow and more nostalgic than anything else they’ve played. A disco ball descends. “I am a breathing time machine,” the audience sings. “I’ll take you all for a ride,” the brothers sing back to them in a loop. Seth encourages the audience to cherish the moment, and then the moment is gone.
“Thank you, Baltimore, y’all are beautiful!” he says, and the band disappears from stage to a chorus of stomps and hollers.
Photo Credit: The Avett Brothers performed at the UMBC Event Center on Friday, September 13. Photo by Ian Feldman.

Baltimore Sun January 31, 2018

'All grown up': UMBC invests in athletics with $85 million Event Center

fan seated in the uppermost rows of the new arena at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County will get a sweeping view of $85 million of gray and gold and glass.

After buying popcorn from a full-size concession stand, the fan will watch from one of 5,000 seats as a team of UMBC athletes — its Division I basketball or volleyball players — competes atop a wooden floor that can be pulled off its concrete base and stacked up like an enormous jigsaw puzzle.

The new arena is a big step for UMBC, a 13,000-student university that marked its 50th birthday in 2016.

“UMBC’s kind of all grown up,” said university architect Joe Rexing, gesturing at the facility.

After two years of construction, the UMBC Event Center will make its debut at 4 p.m. Saturday with a men's basketball game against the Vermont Catamounts.

Nancy Young, the school’s vice president for student affairs, said that the Event Center was built to enhance athletics, student life and the university’s relationship with the community.

The center will “give us the space and the facilities we need to grow our student life,” Young said. It also will allow UMBC to reach out to the community by hosting concerts, performances and high school graduations, she said.

“We are always looking for ways to be good neighbors,” Young said.

UMBC’s varsity men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as its women’s volleyball team, will play home games in the Event Center. Other resources in the 172,000-square-foot building, including an academic center and a sports medicine facility, will be available for all of the school's 400 student athletes, spokeswoman Candace Dodson-Reed said.

“We’re excited,” said Tim Hall, the school’s athletic director. “It’s going to be certainly the best facility in our league, in my opinion.” UMBC is a member of the NCAA’s America East Conference.

When the Event Center is not being used for games, it will host events such as concerts, trade shows and commencement ceremonies for UMBC and nearby high schools. Tiffany Sun, general manager of the Event Center and an employee of management company Oak View Group Facilities, which was hired to manage the building, said four major ticketed events are already planned between now and May, beginning with a concert by rock band A Day To Remember on March 13.

The arena is built to accommodate major tours, Sun said, with rubber paneling to stifle echoes and a rigging system capable of holding more than 100,000 pounds. When the removable basketball floor is stored away, Rexing said, a stage can be installed and 1,000 extra seats can be lined up on the concrete floor. A private dressing room with a lounge area and a private restroom will host performers between sets.

In this area of the county, we don’t have a very large facility like this,” Young said, saying the school is looking forward to showcasing art events and performances, “the kinds of things there hasn’t been a lot of opportunity for in our part of the county.”

The Retriever Room, a space for special events and banquets, has glass on both sides — one side looks out onto the arena, while the other looks out onto the outdoor stadium, where sports such as soccer and lacrosse are played.

Up to this point, major events at UMBC have been held in the Retriever Activities Center, a multipurpose athletic facility with a 4,024-seat basketball arena. The space was not large enough for the school’s commencement ceremonies; last year, 1,300 UMBC students graduated at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore.

“That building wasn’t built for the number of students who go through those doors every day,” Hall said of the Retriever Activities Center. “

The RAC remains on campus and will be used for physical education classes, community events and intramural athletics.

Dodson-Reed said that ticket prices for games will go up modestly once the Event Center opens. A ticket to a recent men’s basketball game in the Retriever Activities Center cost $13 to $25; tickets to a similar game scheduled for February in the Event Center are listed online at between $17 and $40.

"Revenues generated by the Event Center from University and non-university events will be used to cover the costs of operating and maintaining the building and to support Athletics,” Dodson-Reed said in an email.

Hall, the athletic director, said that currently the school’s 17 varsity sports teams do not make a profit. That has the potential to change, however, as UMBC’s sports rise in stature, he said.

UMBC’s men’s basketball team has been winning — as of Jan. 26, it had won 14 of 22 games, including all its home games. (The women’s team, by contrast, had lost 18 of 20 games so far this season.) Hall said the men’s team “wasn’t in great shape” when he started five years ago, and that the team is on an upward trajectory.

“Winning in basketball gives us one of the best opportunities for revenue generation,” he said.

Towson University’s $70 million multipurpose, 5,200-seat SECU Arena, which opened in 2013, has “really been a game changer for us,” university spokesman Raymond Feldmann said.

The arena, Feldmann said, has boosted attendance at Towson games and has attracted other events, including concerts, graduations, performances such as comedian Amy Schumer, and a recent deal to host the Baltimore Blast professional indoor soccer team.

UMBC’s potential for a revenue boost comes after an $85 million investment in the building — $7 million for the design, $75 million for construction and $3 million for furniture, fixtures and equipment, Dodson-Reed said.

“The money came from four places,” Dodson-Reed wrote in an email. “Savings over the years to prepare for this need, a contribution from the University System of Maryland, sponsorships and gifts, and the remainder (the bulk of it) was borrowed.” The school did not raise tuition to pay for the building, she said.

That investment built not only an arena, but a number of services available exclusively to UMBC’s varsity athletes.

The basketball and volleyball teams each have their own new locker room in the Event Center, complete with a flat-screen television, kitchenette and lockers with USB outlets. Athletes can access tutoring and advising services in a new academic center. To treat and prevent injuries, they can visit a sports medicine center, which has cold and hot baths for physical therapy and a third tub with an underwater treadmill.

“Being a Division I athlete is basically a full-time job,” associate athletic director Tom Mandato said, adding that varsity athletes spend as many as 20 hours per week on their sport, while also attending classes. The Event Center, he said, will provide “one-stop shopping” to help those students succeed.

Such elaborate athletic facilities, Young said, are not incongruous with UMBC’s reputation as a studious place where, as university president Freeman A. Hrabowski III often says, “it’s cool to be smart.”

“I think that sometimes in our society, we have a dichotomy between what we think of mind and body,” Young said. "I think smart students want opportunities to be engaged physically.”

The Event Center, she said, will add to what UMBC students are learning inside the classroom — for athletes, for students attending games, and for those participating in activities in the Retriever Activities Center, which she said will now be more often available for the UMBC community.

“I think we will always want to be known as a place that people think of, first, of the mind,” Young said. “But I think there’s few of us that don’t remember a time in college where we were at a game, or celebrating a victory with friends, or using a space for a concert.”

“Those are memories that stick with us for years after college. They’re part of an entire, well-rounded experience.”


Back to