The "Piano Man" will be playing his melodies at Camden Yards.
Billy Joel is scheduled to perform the first-ever concert at the venerable stadium July 26, according to Orioles Entertainment, LLC, and partner Live Nation, an events promoter and venue operator based in Beverly Hills, Calif. Joel is also playing several other MLB stadiums: Fenway Park, Coors Field, Citizens Bank Park, Miller Park and Chase Field.
"Billy Joel. Camden Yards. Baltimore. It doesn't get much better than this," said Wilson Howard, CEO of Live Nation. "It's pretty special."
John Angelos, Orioles executive vice president, hopes the rock star will draw a capacity crowd of 37,000 and serve as the catalyst for future events at Oriole Park.
Tickets for the Joel concert go on sale Jan. 18. The Orioles Charitable Foundation will donate a portion of the proceeds from the concert to support music and arts education programs for kids in Maryland and across the region.
The Joel concert is another example of the new era for the Orioles franchise.
During the past several months, the team hired a new general manager in Mike Elias and a new manager in Brandon Hyde. The team has made a bigger commitment to using analytics to help the performance on the field.
Now, the franchise is trying to create a buzz off the field.
Concerts, with performers like Joel, should help create significantly more revenue at Camden Yards and bring more people to downtown Baltimore. Angelos said the time is simply right to expand the scope of operations.
The only other high-profile, non-baseball event at Camden Yards took place on Oct. 8, 1995, when Pope John Paul II celebrated mass in front of more than 50,000 people.
"For many years there were some concerns over the field," Angelos said. "Over time, the main focus was to develop the media platform. Baseball and music are the two largest sellers of tickets by far. Last year, MLB sold over 70 million tickets and minor league baseball sold 40 [million]. That's a 110 million tickets and you can role all of the other sports leagues together -- and they're all great leagues -- and they get to about half that. This is the perfect marriage of baseball and live music."
Angelos is not concerned about the impact to the playing field at Camden Yards because of the concert. Orioles groundskeeper Nicole Sherry is recognized as one of the best in the business and Live Nation has experience running these types of events at professional stadiums, Angelos said.
In addition, the Orioles have experience handling concerts at their other baseball facilities. The team's spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., hosts several country music fundraisers with high-profile bands, such as LoCash, each year.
"We'll get all of the best professionals involved," Angelos said. "Wilson and staff have done this type of show many, many times. We have a great groundskeeper here and a great understanding of our field. Live Nation has a great understanding of how to put the shows on."
It might be a few years before the Orioles create a buzz at Camden Yards with a playoff run. For now, the team is ready to electrify the city in other ways and the progressive strategy could bode well for the entire city of Baltimore.
This has been updated to include new photos and a list of the other ballparks Joel is playing.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles