SBJ/November 10 - 16, 2003/Forty Under 40

Dan Beckerman

Dan Beckerman recalls a day back in early August when he was one of a handful of top Anschutz Entertainment Group executives who were walking the grounds at the company's new Home Depot Center, the $140 million, 85-acre sports complex in Carson, Calif. Taking place simultaneously at the complex that afternoon were a Los Angeles Galaxy soccer match, a San Diego Chargers summer training camp practice and the WTA Tour's JP Morgan Chase tennis tournament.

The scene was an affirmation of the Home Depot Center's raison d'être. "Accommodating a wide array of major sporting events — this was exactly what we had in mind," said Beckerman, AEG's executive vice president and chief financial officer.

The 34-year-old Beckerman, who manages a staff of nearly 40 people, was in charge of creating the financial blueprint for the Home Depot Center, which opened in June.

The complex, 100 percent owned by AEG, includes a 27,000-seat stadium for the Galaxy, an 8,000-seat tennis facility and a track and field stadium. In its short existence, the Home Depot Center has been the site of some major sporting events, including the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup final. It is the training center for the U.S. Soccer Federation's men's and women's national teams, and this month will be home to the 2003 MLS Cup. According to Beckerman, the sports complex will generate more than $20 million in revenue next year.

Including the Home Depot Center, Beckerman has played a key role in the investment of nearly $1 billion since August 1997 that has helped build AEG into a major player in the sports industry. Among its sports holdings are the Staples Center, the HealthSouth Training Center in nearby El Segundo, the Los Angeles Kings, five MLS franchises (the Galaxy, D.C. United, Chicago Fire, San Jose Earthquakes and the New York/New Jersey MetroStars), two minor league hockey franchises in the Kings' organization, and various European properties, including several hockey teams and one soccer franchise.

"I play a role in the growth and acquisition side of the business," Beckerman said. "I work very closely with the other members of our executive committee, working on the team that guides the future of the company." That team is led by AEG President Tim Leiweke.

Said Beckerman, "It's safe to assume based on the holdings we have at the Home Depot Center that we're actively involved in [seeking] soccer, tennis, cycling and track and field [events]."

Beckerman is an instrumental player in AEG's efforts to build soccer-specific stadiums for the MetroStars and D.C. United. His primary involvement is developing the economic models for those planned projects.

Overall, Beckerman's responsibilities include fiscal planning and overseeing the day-to-day financial operations for AEG and its holdings. "I'm a pretty hands-on manager," he said. "I get involved in a lot of the details in the day-to-day operations for our various businesses."

Overseas, AEG has two major development projects in the planning stages, one in London and one in Berlin. The London project, which entails creating an entire entertainment district, would include a 20,000-seat arena that could play host to sports events — though its primary offerings would be concerts. A hockey team that AEG owns, the Berlin Eisbaren, would be the anchor tenant of the arena in Berlin. Beckerman would not disclose the amount of money that AEG would be investing in the projects, but industry sources estimated that it would be at least $500 million.

"I also look for ways to raise capital for our development projects," said Beckerman, who joined AEG in August 1997 as chief financial officer for the Kings. In fact, he had a lead role in efforts to secure the $315 million asset-backed private placement that led to the creation of the Staples Center.

Beckerman also played an integral role in negotiating several major Staples Center lease deals, including ones with such anchor tenants as the NBA Los Angeles Clippers, the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks and the Arena Football League Los Angeles Avengers.

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