The Orioles approached Van Halen about performing on Sept. 2 at the team's Camden Yards, then backed out of the deal, according to a lawsuit filed Aug. 10 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The action seeks damages for opportunities the band said it lost after it rearranged its schedule.
"In addition to using its resources to plan the concert, Van Halen had to change the dates of other scheduled concerts and forgo other concert opportunities in order to accommodate the Oriole Park concert," the suit claims.
The Orioles declined to comment.
The band said the proposed deal would have paid $1.5 million plus 80 percent of ticket and merchandise sales.
The development marks a rocky start for the Orioles' efforts to bolster stadium revenue by bringing major shows to the 12-year-old ballpark. The team won the right to do so three years ago in a legal battle with the Maryland Stadium Authority.
"You burn a band of Van Halen's stature and then few people are going to want to deal with you in the future," said Gary Bongiovanni, editor in chief of Pollstar, a concert industry trade magazine.
Negotiations for Van Halen to be the first music act to perform at Camden Yards began in April when the Orioles faxed a proposal to the band's booking agent with an offer of $1 million, according to the suit. The band said it declined, citing conflicting tour dates, but accepted after the Orioles upped the offer.
A few weeks later, the team stopped communicating with the band and formally repudiated the agreement in a July 26 letter, according to the lawsuit. No explanation was given for the breakdown in negotiations.