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AEG Making Moves In San Diego

SAN DIEGO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The second-largest concert promoter in the U.S., AEG Live, is making moves on the Live Nation stronghold of San Diego.

According to a report by the Union-Tribune, AEG Live is interested in building a new 6,000 seat venue in San Diego or acquiring a controlling interest in an existing facility. This significant capital investment would serve as the schwerpunkt in their efforts to become a major force in the live entertainment industry in San Diego county.

AEG already has a solid presence there. The Union-Tribune reported that Viejas Entertainment's former president Steve Redfern has taken virtually his entire 8 person management team and jumped ship to join AEG to assist in the San Diego operation that the firm opened quietly on July 1st. Joining Steve is John Wojas, another Viejas ex-patriot, who had served as a senior talent buyer for them. AEG and Viejas have collaborated at the San Diego Sports Arena, bringing artists such as Justin Timberlake to the 14,000 capacity arena.

Ripples of the Viejas shift are already being felt. According to the Union-Tribune Del Mar Racetrack, one of Viejas's clients has said it will likely move its business to AEG next year when they book their Summer concert series. "We're very comfortable working with John and Steve, and will likely go in that direction in 2008," Josh Rubenstein, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club's marketing director told the the Union-Tribune.

AEG isn't on easy street however, Live Nation, with ticket sales that presently dwarf AEG, is still a major force to be reckoned with in San Diego. Live Nation's centerpiece is the 19,000 seat Coors Amphitheatre along with the downtown House of Blues which Live Nation purchased last year. They also promote shows into 4th & B, The Open Air Theatre at San Diego State as well as a number of other venues around the city.

And what these developments mean for regional promoters like Viejas and "neutral" venues remain to be seen. Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay, which, as previously reported in CelebrityAccess, had entered into a partnership with Viejas is adopting a 'wait and see' approach while other venues such as punk and hardcore forum Soma have already reportedly thrown their lot in with AEG.

"We have the exact same arrangement with AEG that we had with Viejas," Soma owner Len Paul told the Union-Tribune "We're still a neutral venue and are open to other promoters. But I've developed a pretty good relationship with John and Steve, so we'll continue that." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers