Major League Baseball (MLB) club the Baltimore Orioles has opened up to concerts at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, with a Billy Joel gig to launch a new venture with events promoter and venue operator Live Nation.

The Orioles have previously been resistant to staging major music events at their ballpark, but announced yesterday (Thursday) that six-time Grammy award winner Joel will play the first full concert at Camden Yards on July 26.

The concert will mark the first major event for the team’s new Orioles Entertainment division, which has been formed in partnership with Live Nation. “As an entertainment company bringing world class sports, music, and other diverse events to the live venues we manage and to our multimedia television, digital, and radio platforms, there is no greater opportunity than to bring a true music legend in Billy Joel to the ballpark and into our community,” said John Angelos, Orioles executive vice-president.

“Billy Joel and Oriole Park at Camden Yards are leaders across the entertainment world in selling tickets, driving tourism, and creating one-of-a-kind memories, and the Orioles are thrilled to make Camden Yards home to an iconic artist who generations of Americans have grown up with and who is still setting records today.”

Joel is also scheduled to play at fellow MLB venues Chase Field (Phoenix), Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia), Miller Park (Milwaukee) and Coors Field (Denver) this summer. MLB.com noted that the Orioles’ move into the concert market reflects Angelos’ growing influence in the running of the organisation.

His father, Peter, the Orioles’ 89-year-old chairman and chief executive, had been opposed to using Camden Yards for non-baseball events in the past. “It took some time, but we’re here now,” John Angelos said. “In this case, a first impression — you want to get the first one going, you want a great first act with a great partner. … Billy Joel is the first, and hopefully, he’s the first of many.”

Live Nation Baltimore chief operating officer, Wilson Howard, added that the two parties will attempt to sell 37,000 tickets for Joel’s show. Oriole Park’s official capacity is 45,971.

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