Greek Theater dilemma over

Nederlander, House of Blues reach promo agreement

Nederlander and House of Blues Concerts, the concert-promoting concerns that have taken their battle for control of L.A.’s Greek Theater to the courts, have settled their differences.

The orgs reached an agreement to enhance operational, marketing and promotional activities for both the Greek and the Universal Amphitheatre. The deal was made part of Nederlander Concerts’ bid, submitted to the city Tuesday, to continue operating the Greek.

“It’s a four-way win,” said Jay Marciano, president-CEO of House of Blues Concerts. “It’s a win for the concert fans of L.A., there’s a great financial package for the city and it’s a win for Nederlander and House of Blues.”

The agreement calls for box offices at the outdoor Greek and indoor Universal to sell tickets to both venues and, more significantly, to open up the Gold Circle ticket clubs to subscribers of both venues. Greek subscribers will have access to Universal’s premium seating and vice versa.

The alliance is part of their proposal, which will encompass city-requested improvements to the venue, according to Nederlander Concerts attorney Adam Burke.

“Both have great respect for each other’s operation and booking,” Burke said. “Let’s see if we can fix problems by swapping operational ideas. It’s all very open.”

Nederlander’s contract for the Greek expires Oct. 31. The new pact is for 10 years and is based on Nederlander’s guarantee of a $15 million gross, from which the city will take a cut in addition to rent. Conceivably, Burke said, the new contract could be in place following a review by the time the current one expires.

The pact will end a contentious, litigious battle between the orgs over the last two years. The Recreation & Parks Board, in late summer 1999, voted to extend Nederlander’s contract without soliciting other bids. (Nederlander has operated the Greek for 25 years.) House of Blues objected, sued the city and started planning for a ballot referendum. The council rescinded the extension and eventually created a review panel, which recommended in December that House of Blues take over the 6,100-seat Greek.

In their proposals, the House of Blues offered to pay $23.5 million in rent over 10 years while Nederlander offered $18.5 million. Repairs to the facility were part of the package. In February, the City Council voted 3-1 to reject bids from Nederlander and House of Blues; it was the third time the council sent away both parties without declaring a winner.

Council members who voted against the House of Blues raised financial solvency questions about the company, which is looking to raise approximately $100 million for what Marciano terms expansion and the building of new venues. Among the offers House of Blues has received, and rejected, is one from Philip Anschutz, who co-owns Staples Center and owns Concerts West.

“We contemplate more shows, more tickets in the marketplace, and the two organizations will come together to create programming opportunities that didn’t previously exist,” Marciano said.

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