AEG Mulls Its Ticketing Options

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Among the services under review by AEG are Cleveland-based Veritix Inc., and Major League Baseball’s, people close to the matter told Bloomberg. AEG is also reportedly considering a $30 million dollar investment to develop their own in-house ticketing service.

AEG owns or operates more than 100 venues and has interests in a number of major sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings. AEG is currently one of Ticketmaster's largest clients and accounts for at approximately 10 percent of Ticketmaster's revenue, a Feb. 26 regulatory filing revealed.

According to Bloomberg, AEG began exploring their options in February after the proposed merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation was announced. Although AEG's contract with Ticketmaster holds until July, 2012, AEG's CEO Tim Leiweke noted in a letter to Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff earlier this year that the merger completing would provide AEG with an option for early termination.

The issue may be particularly a particularly thorny one for AEG as their dealings with Ticketmaster may expose sensitive business information to rival promoter Live Nation if the merger completes. Both Live Nation's Michael Rapino and Ticketmaster's Irving Azoff commented on this fact during congressional testimony on the proposed merger and said that a 'firewall' between the two companies would protect Ticketmaster's client information but have not since elaborated on their plans to do so publicly.

While AEG appears to be waiting until the U.S. Justice Department rules on the proposed merger, their potential response is likely to have some influence on the outcome which already appears to face a less than convivial regulatory climate.

"The government talks to any potential entrant regarding their future plans," Andre Barlow, an attorney specializing in anti-trust law told Bloomberg. "What DOJ would want to know is how difficult would it be for AEG to create a ticketing service."

A spokesman for AEG was not available for comment at the time of publication. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers