LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) WME Co-CEO Ari Emanuel wrapped up the two-day Venues Now Conference, organized by Oak View Group President of Events And Conferences Ray Waddell held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles June 19-20.
The executive “regaled” the crowd, according to Variety‘s Shirley Halperin, with stories from his youth and his admiration of execs like Disney’s Bob Iger (“a great thinker”) and Live Nation’s Michael Rapino (“one of the great executives in our business”).
He talked about the expansions at WME into media financing, distribution, sports training, league management and fashion, according to Variety, saying he has a “crazy mind.”
“Yes, we started out as an agency, we’re still the best agency,” Emanuel reportedly said, “that gives us pretty good insight into where the world is going,” he said. “A viewpoint of where to point the targets as they relate to ownership.”
As for properties like the UFC, Professional Bull Riders and Miss Universe, “A lot of people didn’t see what we saw in the assets,” Emanuel said, noting that some said they “overspent” for IMG but, “We’ve done pretty well.”
Emanuel noted that WME is involved in 30,000 concerts and 900 events annually of which “people will take pictures and post them – that’s a tactile moment” but questioned if an event like Kanye West’s recent album drop could be a live pay-per-view event, according to Variety.
He noted that he and longtime business partner Patrick Whitesell have been “married for a long time and happy.”