WILDWOOD — Elton John, Alice Cooper, David Cassidy, Black Sabbath and other headline acts performed in Wildwood in the summer of 1971.

“Technically, Wildwood was the musical capital, a little Las Vegas on the East Coast,” Mayor Ernie Troiano said.

City officials hope a new partnership with a billionaire-backed firm will help the resort tap into its musical history, which stretches back into the 1950s and the dawn of rock ’n’ roll.

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Troiano and the City Commission ratified a contract in November with Beach Ball LLC, which promises to bring at least three beach concerts to Wildwood each of the next three summers.

In its proposal to the city, Beach Ball offered to hold a minimum of three concerts a year featuring “country and/or rock” performers, according to a recommendation letter drafted by City Solicitor Marcy D’Arcy Bittner.

Beach Ball predicts the attendance for each of the concerts will range from 30,000 to 70,000, depending on the performer, Bittner’s letter states.

“They’re talking to some really top acts,” said Troiano, adding he couldn’t discuss specifics until the performers are booked.

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is the only person holding more than a 10 percent stake in Beach Ball, according to Bittner’s letter. Forbes lists Ross’s net worth at $7.4 billion.

Ross will be financing the concerts, which will be for-profit and will include the sale of alcohol, Bittner’s letter states.

Beach Ball will pay the city $20,000 for each concert along with $1 for each ticket sold and payment for all municipal services, according to the terms of the contract. At least 5,000 tickets must be sold for each concert, the letter states.

The only other offer on the table was from Boardwalk Entertainment LLC, a firm owned by Amanda Cimpeanu, of Ocean City. She produced Tim McGraw’s July beach concert in Wildwood. Wildwood made $25,000 from the McGraw concert plus about $5,000 in revenue from parking cars on the beach during the show.

Cimpeanu, also known as Amanda Thomas, was arrested and charged in May with theft after an investigation by police and the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office linked her to money stolen from a charity account, authorities said.

Bittner recommended approving Beach Ball’s proposal over Cimpeanu’s because of Ross’ financing and the Beach Ball team’s professional expertise.

Kevin O’Grady, Matt Jankowski and Alan Nau will produce the concerts, according to Bittner’s letter.

Nau helped organize the 2012 Kenny Chesney concert in Wildwood and worked on similar beach concerts in Asbury Park and Seaside Heights, Bittner said in the letter.

“He knows what we’re capable of doing, and we know what they’re capable of doing,” Troiano said. “We’re excited about it.”

O’Grady and Jankowski both work for Ascendant Sports Group, a company founded by Ross. O’Grady has worked on sporting events including the 2014 Winter Olympics and multiple Super Bowls and Pro Bowls, according to his LinkedIn page.

Ascendant Sports Group declined to comment on the contract.




Twitter @ACPressTomczuk

Joined the Press in June of 2016 as a nighttime breaking news reporter. I'm now a staff writer covering Cape May County. Born and raised in Philadelphia and a graduate of Temple University. Previously interned for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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