Rival promotions companies Live Nation and Nederlander/AEG Live, who are bidding against each other on a ten-year contract to operate L.A.'s iconic Greek Theatre will have to spend another two weeks on pins and needles. Today, the Department of Recreation and Parks, the agency that oversees the venue, announced it needs more time to consider each promoter's lengthy proposal. The agency's next meeting on the matter is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 23.
While the agency's official recommendation is not the final word on which proposal will ultimately win the ten-year concession contract, it is a major step towards that goal. The deal to manage and operate the city-owned amphitheater, located in Griffith Park, will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars over the next ten years. Its passage will face several hurdles, including Los Angeles City Council approval, which will follow the agency's recommendation.
“We are pleased that the commission did not make a decision today, which allows time for a review of the errors in the consultant report, and to unseal financial assumptions in Live Nation’s proposal," wrote Nederlander CEO Alex Hodges in a statement. "We are confident that after proper review and diligence is conducted, Nederlander/AEG Lives’ superior proposal will be the clear choice both financially and for the community."
Last year the Greek (capacity 5,900), grossed nearly $23 million, resulting in $1.6 million in revenue sharing for the city, according to Recreation and Parks documents.
The agency's decision to postpone came after a five-hour meeting today (Oct. 9) at Friendship Auditorium in which the commission explained the bidding process, the panel's credibility and its community survey. The proceedings also allowed each bidder to present a ten-minute summary of its proposal. Previously, on Aug. 26, the two competing entities were allotted a two-hour interview before the panel.
In a meeting last week (Oct. 1), the commission said it had scored Live Nation's proposal higher than Nederlander/AEG Live's plan. After that (lengthy and contentious) hearing, the panel also moved to postpone its decision until today, to allow the public and city officials ample time to review the extensive proposals.
Live Nation's 738-page request for proposal forecasts hosting 1,400 events at the Greek over 20 years (the contract is for ten years. with two five-year options), a $77.9 million in revenue share for the city, $40 million in capital improvements to the site and some $6 million for a community trust which will include making the arts accessible to “low-income and under-represented communities.”
Nederlander and AEG Live's proposal (which was divided into two volumes, one at 702 pages and the other at 1,030 pages) offered the city $36.2 million in rent over the first 10 years of the contract, plus an additional $41.2 million if the contract were extended for 10 years.
In a statment, Live Nation noted that the company had "earned the clear recommendation of city staff, as well as the unanimous approval of an independent panel of experts." It went on to say that, "Despite the delay, we will stay the course and fully expect the results of the City’s bidding process to be upheld."
Nederlander, which could not be reached for comment at press time, has overseen the Greek Theatre since 1976 and in that time engendered significant community support for its proposal. Groups such as Friends of Griffith Park have endorsed the Nederlander/AEG proposal and a Change.org petition supporting the plan has received more than 21,500 signatures.
Built in 1929 and designed by architect Samuel Tilden Norton to resemble an ancient Greek breathes, the 5,900 seat amphitheater is one of L.A.'s most historic venues. Acts that have graced the Greek’s outdoor stage include Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Jose Carerras, the Russian National Ballet, Paul Simon with special guest Paul McCartney, among many others. Neil Diamond's 1972 double live album Hot August Night was recorded there.