Van Halen is suing the Baltimore Orioles for at least $2 million in damages, charging that the Major League Baseball team reneged on an offer for the band to play a concert Sept. 2 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The suit – filed Aug. 10 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles – states that Orioles director of entertainment Don Mark, under the instruction of Orioles owner Peter Angelos, first contacted Van Halen’s reps at the William Morris Agency in mid-April about playing at the stadium. According to the suit, “Van Halen was ambivalent about playing at the time requested by the Orioles,” because the band would be performing in the southern United States, and playing Baltimore would “necessitate changing the tour routing previously planned.”
The suit also notes that Van Halen was at the time engaged in a tour of mostly arenas, but “the Orioles insisted that they could more than compensate Van Halen for the expense and inconvenience scheduling the concert would cause.”
According to court papers, the Orioles around April 27 made an offer in writing for $1 million, which the band rejected. The Orioles came back with an offer of $1.5 million, plus 80% of ticket revenues and 80% of gross merchandise revenues, plus a budget for expenses and a non-compete provision that prohibited Van Halen from performing in other venues in the vicinity of Baltimore.
The papers say that after numerous communications between the parties, Van Halen accepted the offer in mid-June. Van Halen began making preparations for a Sept. 2 concert at Oriole Park; the band claims it terminated any efforts to book another venue in the area, changed the dates of other scheduled concerts and did not pursue other opportunities.
The suit says that the Orioles in mid-July “repudiated the agreement, first by refusing to communicate or cooperate with Van Halen, and then expressly in a letter dated July 26… refusing to perform its obligations thereunder.”
Mark told Billboard he had “no comment whatsoever” on the Van Halen situation. Van Halen attorney Howard E. King of King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner in L.A., also declined to comment.