Baltimore arena operator asks for kickback of ticket taxes because being #1 in concert sales isn’t enough

SMG, the private arena management company that runs Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena (aka 1st Mariner Arena, aka Baltimore Civic Center, aka Spicy Condiment) wants to stop paying ticket taxes on concerts it holds there. And the president of the Baltimore city council thinks, sure, why not?

In an effort to try to attract more and better acts to the city-owned arena, [city council president Bernard C. “Jack”] Young is proposing to exempt many performances at the venue from paying the city’s Admissions and Amusement tax of 10 percent on every ticket…

Young’s bill would grant tax breaks to concerts, comedy shows, dance performances and any other “artistic” work at the venue. Sporting events would still pay taxes, but the bill is written broadly enough that it could apply to WWE wrestling show, [city finance director Henry] Raymond said.

Before we all shake our heads sadly, let me say that this is probably a better idea than building a whole new arena to attract better concerts, something else that’s been proposed, since that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and this would cost the city only $1.2 million a year. And, sure, maybe SMG will use that cash to lower its concert fees, which means maybe finally Baltimoreans will get to see Rihanna — nope, she’s already playing, but Bruce Springsteen — nope, him, too, in fact, Baltimore’s arena currently sells more concert tickets than any other arena its size, but Adele, okay, they’ll finally get to see Adele without having to drive to Washington, and who can put a price on that?

Or, they’ll just pocket the money and Adele will still skip Baltimore. The city council is set to vote on the plan today.


One comment on “Baltimore arena operator asks for kickback of ticket taxes because being #1 in concert sales isn’t enough

  1. Since its almost impossible to watch a WWE show without breaking into laughter many times, I’m sure they qualify for the “comedy show” exemption.