NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) –- A partnership between promoter giant AEG Live, Ticketmaster and Cablevision, the parent corporation behind MSG Entertainment appears to be in the offing.
The deal would see the second largest live entertainment promoter in the world combine with the expansive media and venue holdings of Cablevision/MSG Entertainment and IAC/Interactive, Ticketmaster's parent corporation.
IAC/Interactive has a network of websites which includes Ticketmaster, the largest primary ticketing outlet in the world and the most visited live entertainment website on the net, as well as a major stake in the Azoff Kaufman powerhouse Front Line Management.
The MSG Entertainment component of the partnership would give AEG access to a solid constellation of venues, including Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, The Beacon Theatre, Wamu Theatre and the Chicago Theatre. Cablevision also operates Rainbow Media, which includes music cable channel Fuse TV which Billboard reports is slated to undergo a multi-million dollar rebranding effort in the very near future. This rebranding would be significantly enhanced by the ability to offer content such as live broadcasts of events such as the wildly-popular Coachella which is organized by AEG's Goldenvoice.
This deal seems like a perfect fit for all three players. Ticketmaster's long-time relationship with Live Nation is ending at the end of this year and a new pact with AEG Live will help to soften that blow, while the integration of AEG's live entertainment offerings with the media outlets of Cablevision and IAC should serve to strengthen all three and line up AEG to continue to be a major competitor for Live Nation.
The possible deal must be considered in light of AEG's primary competitor Live Nation announcing that it would cease its agreement with Ticketmaster at the end of 2008 and their move to integrate ticketing operations in-house with their CTS Eventim deal.
Live Nation head Michael Rapino had opportunity to comment on the rumored deal during an investor conference call today, stating "If those rumors are true and there's investments made into a competitor like AEG, for one it validates the frenzy around the live business, everybody wants to figure out how to get control of that content and ticket to build upon their business model."
However, unsurprisingly, he remained sanguine about Live Nation's prospects "We're very confident that we're ahead of the curve in the industry right now, because we're not talking about change," Rapino he added "We have the structure that can execute the new business model today. It's about moving forward and fine-tuning the model."
All three of the companies involved in the rumored deal declined to offer comment on this story. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers