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Former AEG chief launches new services business for US arena venues

By | Published on Tuesday 17 November 2015

Oak View Group

The former boss of live giant AEG, Tim Leiweke, has launched a new business called Oak View Group, and Irving Azoff – who used to sit across the fence at rival Live Nation when Leiweke was running AEG – is on the board.

The new business will provide sponsorship and consulting services to the venue sector, as well as operating an investment fund and a new initiative called the Arena/Stadium Alliance, which will provide member venues with “unprecedented scale and resources to realise considerable added value through sponsorship optimisation, untapped revenue streams, insights and access to premiere sports and live entertainment content”.

After leaving Live Nation, Azoff went into business with the Madison Square Garden company, and its venues will be part of the alliance. Azoff will also sit on the board of the new business, while his company – Azoff/MSG Entertainment – is seemingly a backer.

Announcing his new venture, and his tie-up with Azoff, Leiweke told reporters: “Having worked with Irving for decades, we realised there was an opportunity to do something transformative in our business”.

He went on: “At the very heart of what we’re doing is a deep passion for giving the fans of sports, music and live events the very best experience possible – and we’re doing that by empowering arena and stadium owners with the resources and a level of strategic thinking never before accessible. We will create a business model that is designed to disrupt the normal course of business and one that will buy, sell, book and think together”.

Confirming his involvement, Azoff said: “Tim has a skillset and strategic approach that’s unrivalled, and under his leadership we are very confident that Oak View will quickly become a powerful and positive disruptive force in our business”.

While you might think that the kind of services Oak View is seeking to offer would mainly interest independently-owned arenas and stadiums, and smaller venue owners, Azoff’s former colleague at Live Nation, Michael Rapino, has also welcomed the new venture.

He was quoted in the launch bumf as saying: “Both Tim and Irving are friends of Live Nation as well as personal friends. The concept of creating an economic model for both arena’s and touring artist’s that creates new revenue streams and develops an ‘anchor’ type of platform for music is one we share and are very interested to explore with them and their partners”.