The rise of AEG
If you haven't seen it yet, Eric Duhatschek's piece on the Anschutz Entertainment Group is the read of the weekend:
Founded by Denver industrialist Philip Anschutz, who is currently listed by Forbes Magazine as the 41st-richest American at $7.6-billion, AEG has many tentacles in the world of professional hockey.Anschutz is quickly becoming one of the world's biggest power players in professional sports, and as Duhatschek notes, he was behind the unbelievable $250-million deal that saw David Beckham come to North America.
AEG owns the Kings, the Staples Center and the O2. Last month, when Harrah's announced plans for a privately financed $500-million arena project in Las Vegas with a view to attracting an NHL or NBA team, the partner in the deal was AEG.
When Research in Motion CEO Jim Balsillie was heavily in pursuit of the Nashville Predators earlier this year, his primary competitor was William (Boots) Del Biaggio, who wanted to move the team to Kansas City to play in the new AEG-owned Sprint Center.
That someone as wealthy and influential as Anschutz has this great an interest in hockey is, for the most part, a pretty positive situation — although the desire to start plunking hockey teams into AEG-owned arenas, regardless of location, is troubling.
More and more, Anschutz has the NHL's ear, and all future expansion plans are likely going to involve his rinks. And given he already owns marquee buildings throughout the U.S. and Europe, I wonder if his next foray just might be a Canadian one.