SBD/March 15, 2013/Franchises

Leiweke Had Wide Reach During AEG Tenure, Hailed For Impact On L.A.

Leiweke before Thursday had been President & CEO of AEG since '96
Tim Leiweke's departure Thursday as AEG President & CEO “sent ripples through not only L.A.'s business community but also its civic and political circles,” according to Zahniser & Linthicum of the L.A. TIMES. In a city “reeling from earthquakes, riots and a deep recession," Leiweke emerged "as a powerful force" in L.A. He made his mark in '99 by opening Staples Center in a "moribund section of downtown.” That was followed by the L.A. Live complex, which “changed the downtown skyline for the first time in a decade.” A “boisterous, sometimes showboating salesman," Leiweke had a "flair for stagecraft and a track record of giving to charities and election campaigns” (L.A. TIMES, 3/15). L.A. developer Steve Soboroff, an early backer of Staples Center, said, “The minute Tim came out here the whole dynamic changed. It went from a stadium deal to the first step in a larger vision of reshaping the sports and hospitality business in downtown and the rest of Los Angeles. And he implemented it.” He added, “He created the company. He grew the company. He operated the company. And in order to do that he became a political and philanthropic force” (LATIMES.com, 3/14). L.A. County Federation of Labor Exec Dir Maria-Elena Durazo said, “Prior to Tim Leiweke coming to Los Angeles, downtown was pretty much a ghost town.” KB Homes Founder Eli Broad said, “Downtown Los Angeles today would not be the same without Tim" (LATIMES.com, 3/14).

REIGNING ACHIEVEMENT: In L.A., Helene Elliott writes Leiweke “gladly became the face” of AEG-owned teams the NHL Kings and MLS Galaxy. While he “was a fan at heart,” sometimes Leiweke's “passion pushed him too far.” Galaxy President Chris Klein said, "We're all going to miss Tim, everyone loved Tim, but the Galaxy will continue forward. Our commitment to this team is still there, the commitment from Phil is still there." Elliott writes with Leiweke in charge, it "was never dull” (L.A. TIMES, 3/15).

WHERE TO NEXT? BILLBOARD.com's Ray Waddell wrote, “Most would agree Leiweke’s specific skill set tilts toward venue development and professional sports franchises.” He would be a “likely candidate as an owner, GM, or developer of any pro sports teams or group of teams, and will probably find more than a few opportunities in this sector.” Waddell wrote Leiweke is “an executive of rare scope” (BILLBOARD.com, 3/14). Leiweke on Thursday said he plans to “resurface” in a few days (LATIMES.com, 3/14). Meanwhile, in L.A., Scott Wilson outlined AEG’s extensive deals under Leiweke’s leadership (LATIMES.com, 3/14).
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