The Arena officially opened in 1962 as the Baltimore Civic Center and was a major cornerstone for the Inner Harbor redevelopment, it was reopened after renovations and was renamed the Baltimore Arena in 1986. The arena itself is 40 years old as of 2003 and is owned by the city and 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 Tawes, and then-Baltimore Mayor Grady, the vault is expected to be opened in 2061.
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 a host to the Baltimore Bullets, a former professional NBA team. In 1964, the arena was host to the popular 60's music group the Beatles. In 1986, the arena was host to the popular Italian Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti.
In 1989, the arena was host to the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships. Three years later it was host to the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships, 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 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 music group U2. The arena has been a continuous host for the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestling, Sesame Street Live, Disney's World On Ice, and the Barnum & Bailey Circus.