Live Nation: Stadium needs football to also have concerts

Regional President: Not enough concerts in WNY that can keep stadium open without football team

Mike Baggerman
November 13, 2019 - 3:00 am

(WBEN Photo/Brendan Keany)

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WBEN) - Billy Joel's performance at New Era Field is the latest major concert to come to the stadium in Orchard Park, though questions still remain about the stadium's future once the lease with Erie County ends after the 2022-2023 football season.

Joel joins the likes of The Rolling Stones, One Direction, U2, Beyonce, and Jay Z, who have all performed at the stadium in the past. The stadium has held numerous other events outside of football.

"The area in Western New York really loves going to outdoor concerts," Live Nation Regional President Jim Koplik told reporters after Tuesday's Billy Joel announcement. "We have the same thing at Darien Lake. It's one of our best performing outdoor venues because people in Buffalo have cabin fever. They want to go outdoors during the summer time because it's so snowy in the wintertime."

There's been much speculation about the Bills possibly leaving Orchard Park and build a stadium in Downtown Buffalo, though neither county officials nor Pegula Sports and Entertainment have showed their hand about plans. CAA Icon, the firm leading an internal study on the current stadium in Orchard Park, have not completed the study and Pegula Sports have said they will not release findings of the study publicly.

"I don't think there's enough concerts that come to Western New York that could handle just keeping (the current stadium) open without a football team," Koplik said.

He said that New Era Field is a good venue for an artist like Billy Joel because the stadium is designed to better accommodate events outside of football. Koplik said there are other venues that are so football oriented that other events are difficult.

"I can't say that for the people for the BIlls," Koplik said. "They know how to put concerts on too. That makes things easier for us."

Koplik said that Buffalo is "unquestionably" the hottest market in Upstate New York.

"I've been promoting in Upstate New York for 30 to 35 years," he said. "It used to be Albany and Rochester. Buffalo has completely revitalized itself and it's now number one."

Billy Joel's concert at New Era Field is on August 15. Tickets go on sale next week.

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