"After 15 years of silence, the Ralph makes welcome return to the concert scene"
One Direction's announcement of tour date at the Ralph could be music to Buffalonian's ears
Tweenage fans across Western New York are convulsing with excitement at the prospect of seeing One Direction in Buffalo, and although the news of the popular boy band’s pending arrival at the Ralph Wilson Stadium may not excite too many UB students, the opportunities that this development presents should be cause for celebration.
Despite the Ralph’s impressive history – the venue has been host to performers like Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson over the years – the stadium hasn’t held a concert since the summer of 2001, when *NSYNC and the Dave Matthews Band came to Buffalo.
This long, silent interlude at the Ralph is understandable. As an outdoor stadium in an area known for its frigid winters, the window of time for concerts is limited to late spring through early fall.
And when it comes to concert venues in Buffalo, the city enjoys an abundance of possibilities, including the scenic Artpark and Canalside, which hosts free concerts each week in the summer.
Though the absence of performing artists at the Ralph has long been a downer, considering the much touted, multimillion dollar renovations completed just this year, it’s more crucial than ever that the Ralph fulfills an objective beyond featuring Bills games.
With $130 million worth of fan amenities, like larger concession stands, improved video technology and increased points of entry, the stadium is now better suited than ever to hosting concerts.
Filling the Ralph is no easy task, admittedly. As The Buffalo News notes, Bruce Springsteen failed to sell enough tickets to perform at the stadium and had to move his concert to Darien Lake.
But as One Direction’s upcoming concert indicates, there are acts that can jam the stands – and performers like One Direction, who draw fans interested in spectacle, rather than solely superior acoustics, would be an ideal fit for the stadium.
The boy band is hugely popular – their hits consistently top the Billboard 200, they were named the most popular act worldwide in 2013 by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and the fervor of their young fans is a well-known and well-documented phenomenon.
But there are other performers whose fame rivals the group, who could surely sell enough tickets to come to the Ralph – think superstars like Beyoncé or Taylor Swift, whose tours consistently sell out.
With the Ralph back on the map as a potential concert venue, more top-tier artists could come to Buffalo, bringing with them increased numbers of visitors to the area – visitors with cash to spend on not just concert tickets and memorabilia but hotel rooms, dinners and drinks.
Not only would the Ralph earn some revenue, but the whole city would also benefit from a consistent and dramatic influx of tourists to the region.
Buffalo is known for its sports teams – though perhaps not their success – and its venues are varied and lucrative (when there’s a game on).
There’s no reason that the Ralph should sit empty and unprofitable six days a week. The stadium – and the city – would benefit from a reputation for large-scale performances, in both cultural and financial terms.
The Bills have been winning games this season and the Ralph has been host to hordes of screaming, cheering, foot-stomping football fans. Now, it’s time for the stadium to welcome devotees of a different sort as well – without a doubt, the fans in the stands will be just as frenzied,