In a continuing effort to acquire venues in key markets, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) has hired four executives to further assist in developing and promoting live entertainment in its national and international facilities.
AEG Facilities, a division of Los Angeles-based AEG, names Bob Newman COO and Sims Hinds senior VP of business development. Brian Kabatznick joins AEG Facilities/Europe as VP of business development, and Eric Stevens becomes VP of AEG Events & Media.
"I'm told we have a reputation of being rather quiet," AEG CEO/president Tim Leiweke tells Billboard.biz. "We have 33 arenas, stadiums, theaters and clubs that we own or operate now. So we're actually a fairly large player in the facility business, and this is an extension and addition to our management team we have in place."
Last week, AEG nailed down the contract with the NHL's New Jersey Devils to manage the Prudential Center in Newark. With the addition of the 19,500-seat, $375 million Prudential Center, AEG now owns, operates or is developing major venues in many top entertainment markets including Staples Center in Los Angeles, the O2 in London (due to open June, 2007) and the O2 World in Berlin (opening 2008). The company also owns and operates the Nokia Theatre Times Square in New York.
"We want to continue to expand, and expand at a more rapid rate," Leiweke explains. "Our goal is to grow from the 33 facilities we have today, to 100 in the next few years."
Leiweke adds that AEG already has bids on Connecticut's Hartford Civic Center. The company will also bid on Kansas City, Mo.'s Kemper Arena. "We're sniffing on three or four more," he says. "This has been a work in progress even before (COO) Bob (Newman) joined us."
Asked if rumors about AEG buying facility management company SMG are true, Leiweke replies, "I've heard those rumors. We're not focused on SMG and we're not looking to buy SMG at this time. We are focused on AEG."
"We're different from the SMG model," Leiweke continues. "They manage buildings for a fee. In a lot of cases, we bring naming rights, sponsorship sales, premium ticket expertise and content into our relationship. So ours is a very different business model."
Along with such divisions as AEG Live, AEG Facilities, AEG Marketing, and AEG Sales and Sponsorship, the company has formed AEG Events & Media, which will further create "branded" national tours, sports exhibitions, special events, awards and corporate showcases.
AEG Live, AEG's national concert touring division, is currently promoting tours by Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Cheetah Girls and Rod Stewart, as well as the American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and High School Musical arena treks. In the past, AEG Live has promoted tours by Bon Jovi, Usher, Paul McCartney, Prince, Kenny Chesney and Nickelback.