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Greek contract odyssey enters new chapter

World News
March 26, 2018
The Greek Theatre

The contract to manage iconic open-air venue The Greek Theatre (cap. 5,800) is once again up for grabs, with two heavy-weights competing for the privilege.

Global facilities management company SMG and Oak View Group, owned by artiste manager and former Live Nation Entertainment chairman Irving Azoff and former AEG CEO Tim Leiweke, have each submitted proposals to run the Los Angeles venue.

Bids for the 10-year contract, with an option for a further five years, closed at the end of January. SMG has been managing the venue since 2015, but this agreement ends in November.

It was appointed after owner the City of Los Angeles (CLA) grew tired of an acrimonious public dispute between contenders for the prestigious contract, Nederlander Concerts – which managed the venue for almost 40 years – and its proposed new partner AEG Live, and rival Live Nation Entertainment (LNE).

Since then the CLA’s department of Recreation and Parks, which oversees The Greek, has stipulated the operator will not be permitted to promote concerts at the venue (see Audience issue 186).

“We’re only looking for a management company and will still be an open venue, just like last time,” the department’s assistant general manager Vicki Israel tells Audience.

During SMG’s current contract, around $5 million of improvements have been made, including updated dressing rooms, improved lighting and landscaping, but another $50m of upgrades is being planned.

“We are now going through the evaluation process, which is expected to take between six to nine months before a proposal is executed,” says the CLA’s concessions manager Rachel Ramos.

The new management company will also take on the food and beverage provision and would be expected to programme around 70 concerts a year.

Meanwhile, LNE and the Nederlander, who had previously fought to manage The Greek, worked together to promote around 40 shows in the venue in 2017.

“No matter who is managing it, we’ll continue to participate in the building’s success,” says Nederlander CEO Alex Hodges.

Forthcoming shows at the venue include Big Sean, Khalid, Niall Horan and Tom Jones.

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