IRVING AZOFF, 68
Chairman/CEO, Azoff Madison Square Entertainment
Last Year's Rank: 3
Longtime power broker Azoff ended 2015 by announcing the creation of a new company, Oak View Group, with Tim Leiweke. Once rivals, he and Leiweke had run live music -- Azoff as the chairman of Live Nation and Leiweke as the CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group -- until both moved on three years ago. Now, Leiweke and Azoff MSG Entertainment -- Azoff's joint venture with Madison Square Garden Company executive chairman James Dolan -- will combine forces to leverage the power of independently managed stadiums and arenas into a national sports and entertainment footprint that can optimize sponsorship revenue and content-acquisition power. It will also take on the secondary-ticket market's drain of $8 billion away from artists, promoters and venues. While the only top management client with a new studio album was Don Henley, Azoff added live powerhouses Jon Bon Jovi and John Mayer (whose Dead & Company will headline Bonnaroo this summer) to a roster that includes Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, while TV (Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera on The Voice) remained strong. Finally, two Azoff-managed venues, Madison Square Garden and The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., were the top-grossing U.S. arenas in 2015.