SBD/Issue 100/Facilities & Venues

AEG Interested In Bidding On Contract For New Amway Center

Amway Center Officials Plan To Issue Ticketing
Proposal Next Week; AEG Interested In Bidding
AEG, which gained entry into the ticketing business through stipulations in the Department of Justice's approval of the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger in late January, has already shown interest in the contract for Orlando's new arena. Amway Center officials plan to issue a ticketing proposal for the arena next week and AEG officials want to discuss it, said Magic COO Alex Martins. AEG suddenly became a player in the ticketing market thanks to concessions contained in the approval for the merger between ticket giant Ticketmaster and leading promoter Live Nation, a deal valued at $2.5B that could cause some realignment between sports properties and venues on one side and ticketers on the other. The agreement results in the two firms forming a new company, Live Nation Entertainment. It also includes the sale of another ticket firm, Paciolan, from Ticketmaster to Comcast-Spectacor. AEG can form its own private ticket label for up to five years using Ticketmaster's software system or develop a new partnership with a separate company, according to a statement issued by AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke. Leiweke did not respond to e-mails for further comment.

GETTING IN THE GAME: Whether AEG decides to form a joint venture with MLBAM's or Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert's Veritix, both of whom it has reportedly talked to, AEG is contacting big league teams and facilities where it has existing relationships. "All the independent buildings now have three very viable ticketing solutions," said Rich Krezwick, President of Devils Arena Entertainment, the management firm at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. "I like what Peter Luukko's doing at Comcast-Spectacor, it gives AEG an entree into ticketing immediately and Ticketmaster remains the 800-pound gorilla," Krezwick said. Comcast-Spectacor signed a letter of intent to buy ticketing firm Paciolan from Ticketmaster and has 60 days to close the deal. Comcast-Spectacor has its own ticketing agency, New Era Tickets, and the plan is to keep those 50 accounts separate from Paciolan's 200 deals, Luukko said. The firm bought a piece of Paciolan in '04 before Ticketmaster bought Paciolan in '07. There have been no talks between Comcast-Spectacor and AEG about combining forces for ticketing, a Comcast-Spectacor official said.

GROWING THEIR PRESENCE: In Orlando, AEG signed a two-year booking agreement with the city in '09 to book shows at Amway Arena, the Magic's current home and a Ticketmaster client. The city of Orlando, a partner in the building project, has an equal voice in determining who gets the contract, said Amway Arena Exec Dir Allen Johnson, who will assume the same role at the new facility. Besides Orlando, AEG operates three big league arenas and one MLS stadium, The Home Depot Center, and it has separate booking and marketing agreements at seven NBA and NHL arenas. In South Florida, AEG employs a full-time consultant to book special events at AmericanAirlines Arena, a Ticketmaster account that expires in '12. The Heat talked with AEG and Ticketmaster last week after the merger was approved, but it's still too early to get a sense of which direction AEG is headed, said Heat President of Business Operations Eric Woolworth. "I believe what is happening is that AEG bought itself five years to figure out what to do," Woolworth said.

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