In the see-saw battle for control of the L.A.’s Greek Theatre in Griffith Park, it appears Nederlander, with the help of newfound partner AEG, has taken the upper hand given today’s vote by the City Council against Live Nation’s winning bid. The latest development will send the matter back to the Department of Recreation and Parks, which had backed Live Nation after a committee charged with weighing the competing proposals scored its bid higher in every category except community relations.
Nederlander, whose contract with the city-owned venue runs out in October after booking and operating the venue for nearly 40 years, had recently been emboldened by the endorsement of District 4 councilman Tom LaBonge, the city’s ambassador for the area, as well as community support.
The decision rides the momentum of two weeks ago, when the L.A. City Council’s Arts, Parks, Health, Aging & River Committee rejected the Department of Recreation and Parks’ recommendation to back Live Nation’s bid. Some 30,000 community residents signed Nederlander/AEG’s petition to retain control of the venue.
“We are grateful for all the community support and know our proposal is the most fiscally responsible for the City and reflects the best of L.A.,” said Alex Hodges, CEO of Nederlander Concerts, in a statement issued Wednesday. “We look forward to working with the department and the commission and are confident that our proposal is the right choice for the city and will bring this iconic landmark into the future, while respecting its past.”
For its part, Live Nation expressed disappointment in losing this battle but is still confident in ultimately winning the war.
“Unfortunately, today’s action by the City Council puts aside the clear and unanimous findings of the lengthy, comprehensive and competitive bidding process established by the city for the Greek Theatre concession contract,” said the promoter in its statement.
Live Nation added that it was the clear winner of the expert evaluation panel: “Live Nation scored 91% of all possible points; Nederlander/AEG received 79%,” read the statement. “Live Nation’s financial bid is superior, generating important long-term revenues to fund Recreation and Parks Department initiatives citywide.”
Going forward, the City Council will further review Nederlander/AEG’s contract, which the Recreation and Parks Commission still has the authority to negotiate and approve. Unless the commission reverses itself in its support of Live Nation, Wednesday’s vote could be moot. No specific dates have been set to finally resolve the matter.