Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Showbox has been sold to corporate America!

Seattle's Showbox theaters were just sold to AEG, a subsidiary of the Anschutz Company, one, if not the, largest sports and entertainment presenter corporations in the world. The Showbox, the same place the Dead Kennedys once played and host to hundreds of punk shows throughout the '80s and '90s (as well as the first date with my wife) is now part of a giant umbrella entertainment corporation. Lame!

The Anschutz Company owns a controlling stake in a big pile of sports arenas, centers, and mammoth theaters, including: STAPLES Center, WaMu Theatre, Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Anaheim Convention Center Arena, Target Center, NOKIA Theatre Times Square. They also own a controlling interest in sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), Los Angeles Riptide (MLL), Manchester Monarchs (AHL), Reading Royals (ECHL), Chicago Fire, Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS), two hockey franchises operated in Europe, the Hammarby (Sweden) Futbol Club and management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Essentially, goodbye any fragments left of a homegrown local establishment, and hello overpriced beers, security pat downs, and jacked up ticket prices.

The official press release for those that care:

AEG Marketing, a sponsorship, sales and consulting company; AEG Merchandising, a multi-faceted merchandising company; and AEG Creative, a full-service marketing and advertising agency.

Alex Kochan, Vice President of AEG Live’s regional operations in the Northwest, announced today that AEG Live is purchasing the Showbox concert clubs and hiring longtime venue operators Jeff Steichen and Chad Queirolo as General Manager and Talent Buyer/Manager, respectively. The Showbox at the Market and Showbox SoDo are among Seattle’s leading destinations for live music, comedy and game day hospitality.

“We are thrilled to welcome The Showbox and their staff to the AEG Live family,” said Alex Kochan, Vice President, AEG Live Northwest. “Jeff, Chad and the team they have assembled bring a wealth of experience and energy to the Seattle music scene, and together we can help enhance the concert experience for the city’s fans even further.”

“We are starting a new chapter in the history of Seattle’s live music scene,” said Jeff Steichen, Showbox General Manager for both venues. “AEG Live shares our vision and is as committed to the fans as we are.”

Under Mr. Steichen’s leadership, Showbox at the Market has consistently ranked among the top concert clubs in the world, according to Pollstar magazine. The second Showbox brand venue, located just south of downtown Seattle and adjacent to the city’s sports stadiums, joined the ranks in October. It has since thrilled fans with sold-out concerts featuring artists such as Kid Rock, Heart, The Hives, M.I.A. and The Pogues.

AEG Live’s other collaborations in Seattle include exclusive booking for the WaMu Theater at the Qwest Field Event Center and the Grandstand concerts at the Puyallup Fair, as well as participation in the Bumbershoot Arts and Music Festival. The company also produces the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Southern California, and promotes national tours for artists such as Justin Timberlake, Bon Jovi, Prince, Christina Aguilera, Kenny Chesney and Paul McCartney.

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