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Live Nation May Not Exercise Contract Renewal At KC Verizon Shed

KANSAS CITY (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Live Nation has until June 30 to exercise a five-year option to renew its management contract at the publicly-owned Verizon Wireless Amphitheater outside Kansas City, but it has yet to reach a deal with Wyandotte County.

Live Nation has reportedly requested a larger stage to handle big name acts, but Unified Government has balked at picking up the tab for the upgrade, according to the Kansas City Star.

“We have talked to them about doing some expansion and modernizing the facility,” Doug Bach, deputy county administrator, told the paper. “But we don’t have plans at this time to do that.”

The stakes are escalating as Verizon’s 2007 season opens tonight, May 11th, with a performance by Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Jack Ingram and Kellie Picker.

The renewal negotiations come just as the AEG-owned Sprint Center nears completion downtown, which could provide new competition for acts.

Without a renewal, Live Nation’s contract will expire at the end of the year, leaving United Government scrambling for a new operator and talent buyer for the 2008 season.

Mayor Joe Reardon has not ruled out a makeover of the venue, but said that his office has not had any discussions involving public financing plans.

“Upgrading a public facility like Verizon is one that we would seriously consider,” he told the paper.

Under the current contract, Live Nation is scheduled to pay the Unified Government $329,000 in rent, plus 4 percent of the first $4 million in ticket sales, and 6 percent beyond that. In 2006, the percentage cut generated an additional $248,577 in city revenue. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers