Venue Spat Could Be Nearing End With Azoff MSG Entertainment, AEG Close To Truce
The "red hot venue wars between AEG and Azoff MSG Entertainment might be cooling off," according to Dave Brooks of BILLBOARD. Facing an inquiry from U.K. regulators, AEG officials said that they are "considering backing off a tying arrangement" between Staples Center in L.A. and the O2 in London if Azoff MSG Entertainment "does the same." Irving Azoff said that there is "no mandated booking link between his group’s venues," The Forum in L.A. and MSG, which are "often promoted by Live Nation but open to all promoters and touring shows." Azoff: "A show can play (AEG’s) Staples Center and still play the Garden. You might have to route around basketball and hockey, but you can still play the Garden no matter where you’ve played before.” AEG officials said that they are "considering ending the pairing of bookings between Staples Center and O2 arena now that Azoff has said that no block-booking exists between the Forum and the Garden." AEG in a statement said, "The only thing that would make us happier than if Mr. Azoff officially declared that MSG will no longer prevent artists from choosing Staples Center would be if they then actually follow through with it." Following AEG's statement, Azoff issued another statement, saying he and MSG Owner James Dolan are "thrilled that AEG has listened to the artists and is going to adopt the same booking policy as MSG. For the record, and at the risk of being redundant: MSG and The Forum are open buildings. We said it and we mean it" (BILLBOARD.com, 8/22).