BREAKING: AEG Up For Sale

admin Last updated on: February 17, 2024

Earlier tonight, AEG (Anschutz Enertainment Group), confirmed that they would be putting the company up for sale.  AEG is the brainchild behind the Staples Center, LA Live, Live Nation, and the proposed Farmer Field NFL football stadium that would help bring a football franchise to LA.  This news comes as a shock since the deal with Farmers field, which has the potential to be a $1.5 billion deal ($700 Million for the naming rights alone), has not been completed yet.  With a number like that just to build the stadium, think about how much the company is going to be sold for.

AEG, which is owned by billionaire Phil Anschutz, has stakes in much more than that.  The entertainment company manages over a third of the worlds sports and concert venues.  To name a few teams AEG has a slice in: The Lakers, The Kings, Los Angeles Galaxy, and the Houston Dynamo.  With the Lakers and Kings among the names there, this sale has dollar signs written all over it.  For soccer fans in America though, there may be reason to worry.

This sale could have a negative effect on the sports growth in the country.  AEG single handedly brought Major League Soccer back from the dead on two occasions with two rather large investments.  They were also largely financially responsible for landing David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane with the Galaxy.  The MLS Cup itself is named the “Philip F. Anschutz Trophy.”  The most troubling aspect of AEG going up for sale is the potential for the stadium and soccer teams to be sold to two different owners, a dilemma that could cause huge problems for the league.

What should worry soccer fans more than anything else is that any potential new owner may not care about soccer the same way AEG did.  AEG owns a third of the right to SUM (Soccer United Marketing), and if they go, that could stunt a lot of the progress MLS and US Soccer has made both nationally and overseas.  SUM is the heartbeat of both the US Soccer Federation and MLS, owning the rights to the league’s national and international television deals.  They also help organize and license the international friendlies.  Finally, which could be the most important point, SUM manages the United States National Team’s television rights and friendlies. AEG has put more into US Soccer’s growth more than anyone.  It’s troubling to think that someone else could just come in and not even blink an eye at the massive investment AEG has put into the sport.

While this is all speculation and no one knows just what’s going to happen, the news still comes as a surprise.  AEG is the second highest entertainment group next to Comcast Spectator in the amount of arenas the group manages.  For now, it’s a waiting game to see who makes the highest bid, but this is going to go down as one of the biggest deals (if in fact it goes down) in sports entertainment history when the ink dries on what is going to be one very large check.  It’s hard to imagine there will be a lack of buyers when there is potential to invest in such a wide range of big name franchises, not to mention the progress AEG made bringing an NFL franchise to LA.

(Thanks to Richard McGovern from Philly Union Talk for the tip and some important facts)

 

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