By Golie Alemi
Dean Judy Olian kicked off the sixth installment of the Pulse Conference, UCLA Anderson’s signature event highlighting trends in digital media, entertainment and sports, with a conversation with CEO and president of AEG Dan Beckerman (’96), who was recognized as this year’s Game Changer Award recipient.
Named CEO in 2013, (replacing Tim Leiweke), Beckerman stands at the helm of a sports-entertainment powerhouse that includes: Los Angeles’ professional teams (Kings, Galaxy, 30 percent ownership share of the Lakers); venue ownership and/or management of arenas around the world (Staples Center, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the O2 Arena in London, Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai); and a live-concert-promotion division.
Yet Beckerman said at its core AEG is an asset-based real estate company. He explained that if you have the best assets in the best markets, you have a winning combination. Currently, AEG has close to $3 billion invested in Los Angeles (including Stub Hub and Staples Center, and the investment in local sports teams), but “would love to invest more capital in New York,” Beckerman said. “We’re launching a music festival in New York this summer, but I would love to spend billions of dollars there if the right opportunities are present.”
AEG has made its mark in international markets as well, including Brazil, where AEG venues will host major events in the 2016 Summer Olympic games. Beckerman said of their strategy, “We don’t want to simply export the American way of venue construction and management, operations and the fan experience. We try and adapt to the local customs and cultures relative to how they entertain, food offerings they have and the type of service they supply. It’s very different in Brazil than it is in China than it is in London.”
In London, Beckerman noted that the last arena was built around 100 years ago. So AEG has to strike a balance with things that have proven to work in other cities, yet remain respectful and employ best practices for their culture.
For now, Beckerman and his team are ramping up for the opening of their newest domestic project this spring: The T-Mobile Arena, a partnership with MGM in Las Vegas, situated just west of the Las Vegas strip.
The Pulse Conference is presented by the Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment & Sports (MEMES).