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An expanded schedule of concerts and festivals is slated for Buffalo’s outer harbor waterfront next summer after the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority on Monday approved a new contract with a group of Buffalo music promoters.

Funtime After Dark will stage as many as 10 events on the waterfront in 2013, according to partner Chris Ring, as a result of a three-year agreement approved by the authority’s board of commissioners. After sponsoring three concerts near the waterfront last summer, he said Funtime now looks to make the outer harbor even more of a destination next year.

“The space is massive and beautiful, so we want to capitalize on it,” Ring said.

As a result, Ring said, his group, which has extensive experience in concert promotion, will book some well-known groups this summer that may draw even bigger crowds than the 6,000 to 7,000 for “Edge Fest” and the approximately 12,000 to 13,000 drawn overall this summer.

“It wasn’t the most profitable of summers, but we’re looking to do better [next] summer,” he said.

Ring said his company plans to improve the area by installing new sod in several areas near the Seaway Piers for concerts and festivals. Charity events, a marathon and food events could all be part of the mix in 2013, he said.

NFTA Executive Director Kimberley A. Minkel said another firm, RGF Creative Communications, also responded to a request for proposals, but Funtime won the bid based on revenue projections, its business plan and experience.

Funtime will spend about $100,000 next spring for the sod, she said. It then will pay $25,000 rent in the first year, $35,000 in 2014 and $45,000 in 2015 for use of the land, as well as 20 percent of any parking fees.

The company also is responsible for all security and safety precautions.

Though the area is expected to soon be transferred by the NFTA to another government entity – most likely either the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. or the City of Buffalo – Ring said it is hoped the contract could be extended to the new owner of the land.

If not, he noted the contract allows him to withdraw.

Ring said the early jump on this year’s agreement will allow his partnership to book some top attractions for the 2013 season.

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com