NEW YORK, (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) – The Empire Sports and Entertainment company has announced that legendary entertainment promoter and boxing manager Shelly Finkel will be joining them as the company's new CEO, effective July 1st.
Finkel, who had just been inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame, told ESPN that he was in the process of divesting himself from the approximately 20 boxers he currently manages, including WBO World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko and WBC World Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko.
"I think it's the right time and I was offered a very good situation, I still love boxing, but more and more the politics of it I don't like. This wasn't about finances so much. [Managing] just wasn't enjoyable anymore." Finkel told ESPN.
The Empire Sports & Entertainment is a relative newcomer to the entertainment world. Launched in early 2010 by veteran boxing businessman Greg Cohen and his partner, Florida-based venture capitalist Barry Honig, the company had focused primarily on boxing promotion but will be now expanding their portfolio into music and other entertainment offerings.
"We'll be doing some boxing, but not a lot," Finkel told ESPN. "We'll be geared mostly toward music, promoting concerts and festivals. Also, we'll be working on pay-per-view events outside of sports."
Although Finkel has been a one of the most influential managers in the boxing world for the past 30 years, he is no stranger to concert promotion.
Finkel initially launched his career in entertainment at the age of 23, by running a club called "The Action House," featuring legendary bands such as Cream, The Doors, Procol Harem and some of the most recognized groups of the 1960s.
In 1973, Mr. Finkel, along with Jim Koplik, (A legend in his own right, who now works with Live Nation) produced and promoted The Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, a rock festival which once held the Guinness Book of World Records entry for "Largest audience at a pop festival." An estimated 600,000 (1 out of every 350 people in the US at the time) fans attended the event that saw performances by the Allman Brothers Band, The Band and the Grateful Dead. During his career he promoted concerts for some of the biggest names in the industry such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Elton John, and numerous other major artists.
"It is a great pleasure and honor to join the team at The Empire and to assist in building the ultimate sports and entertainment Event Company. The Empire has already begun establishing itself as a premier boxing promoter. Moving forward our goal is to immediately take the existing solid core business that was built by Mr. Gregory Cohen, our President, and strategically position ourselves as a world-class Entertainment Events Company. It is our intent to become a leading media and entertainment company known for promoting the best events in concerts, music festivals, pay-per-view specials, and sporting events around the world." said Finkel. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers