BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — It's the end of the Bluefish era as the City of Bridgeport announced the selection of developers and operators to transform Harbor Yard from a minor league baseball stadium into a state-of-the-art amphitheater.
Live Nation, the world’s largest live entertainment company, will join forces with Howard Saffan, owner of the Shelton-based SportsCenter of Connecticut, to create Harbor Yard Amphitheatre LLC, Mayor Joe Ganim announced late Monday.
Ownership of the amphitheater will be retained by the city. The minor league baseball stadium will be renovated at a cost of about $15 million through a public/private partnership.
Fans will trade a season of minor league baseball for about 25 concerts per summer at the downtown site. The amphitheater is expected to open in spring 2019.
“Bridgeport is excited and ready for this next step in revitalizing our city with positive development and providing music entertainment by bringing in a partner and company like Live Nation," Ganim said.
"We’ve enjoyed 20 years of successful entertainment with Bluefish Baseball and all that the Bluefish and owner Frank Bolton have done for our community. This next chapter of Bridgeport’s future is bright with the benefits and experience of a world-known entertainment company like Live Nation, and the historic success of Saffan as a venue operator, to bring in concerts and shows that will certainly put Bridgeport in the forefront as a destination place for family and friends.”
Jim Koplik of Live Nation said, "This is a great boutique Ampitheatre for Bridgeport. We are looking forward to bringing great artists to Bridgeport."
Saffan, a Weston resident and former president of the Sound Tigers, said the amphitheater will be a “game changer” for Bridgeport. "The thought of hosting 25 concerts per summer is incredibly exciting for both the local business community as well as the concert goers from near and far," he said. "To have a partner like Live Nation insures the success of our state of the venue."
Live Nation Entertainment represents up-and-comers as well as veteran superstars such as Elton John and Lady Gaga. In 2016, Live Nation promoted nearly 26,300 music events that were attended by nearly 71 million fans.
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