SBD/Issue 167/Franchises

AEG Not Interested In EPL Investment Despite Strong Soccer Ties

Tim Leiweke Says AEG Focused
On Arena And Concert Businesses
AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke said that AEG Chair Phil Anschutz "will not be investing" in any EPL franchise, now or "in the near future," according to Grahame Jones of the L.A. TIMES. Leiweke: "We've had many opportunities to jump into the Premier League. We've also had teams in Germany and Italy and Spain that have been offered to us. I would not be lying if I told you that we've probably had 40 different clubs approach us in the last 10 years to invest." Leiweke added, "We've just never felt that that was a core (business interest for AEG) because, one, we were busy here trying to build soccer in the U.S., and, two, we have a pretty good relationship with all the teams over there. ... Our focus right now is in a different world. It's arenas and it's content and it's concerts." Meanwhile, Leiweke said that the AC Milan-Galaxy exhibition on July 19 at The Home Depot Center is "virtually sold out," and added that the August 1 FC Barcelona-Galaxy game at the Rose Bowl "could draw '70,000 or 80,000.'" Jones noted AEG also co-owns the WPS L.A. Sol, and the team's "small crowds add up to large losses," and AEG "will not put up with that beyond this season." Leiweke: "Are we going to lose money the first year? Yes. Is it a million-plus? Yes. Did we expect that? Yes. Will that continue? No." More Leiweke: "We've made it clear that our job is to get it started, and then we're going to let others step in here and continue this. But we felt we owed it to the women's game to give them a shot. We were never intent on being here forever" (L.A. TIMES, 5/17).

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