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Anschutz goes for global credentials

A former NBA exec will direct AEG's efforts in international sports and entertainment markets.

July 31, 2007|Josh Friedman | Times Staff Writer

Anschutz Co. has recruited a National Basketball Assn. executive to help direct its full-court press in the international sports and entertainment markets.

Andrew L. Messick, who helped the NBA establish footholds in China and other countries, joins Anschutz's AEG subsidiary as executive vice president, marketing and international, the company said Monday.

Owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz, AEG is the world's second-largest concert promoter and owns sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League and the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer. The move comes on the heels of British soccer star David Beckham's internationally noted arrival in Los Angeles to play for the Galaxy.

"There is an enormous appetite around the world for the kinds of things we do at AEG," Messick said. "Sports and entertainment modeled on the Western experience is a tremendous growth opportunity."

Messick, 43, most recently the NBA's senior vice president, international, will join AEG's executive committee headed by Timothy J. Leiweke, president and chief executive.

He will run the company's marketing and merchandising units and direct business operations for its sports teams.

AEG recently opened the 20,000-seat O2 Arena beside the Thames River in London and broke ground on the O2 World Arena in central Berlin, scheduled to open in 2008.

The Kings and their local rivals, the Anaheim Ducks, will play the first two regular-season games of this fall's hockey season at the London arena as the NHL seeks to expand its global reach, the company said.

AEG also recently announced unspecified expansion plans in Asia.

Messick said he saw growth opportunities throughout Greater China -- which includes Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao -- thanks to a booming consumer class.

Before joining the NBA seven years ago, Messick held international positions at Sara Lee Corp. and the consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

AEG owns or controls about 30 sports and concert facilities, including Staples Center in Los Angeles, Hollywood's El Rey Theatre, Seattle's WaMu Theatre, Minneapolis' Target Center and the Nokia Theatre in New York's Times Square.

Its AEG Live events division has recently promoted national tours for Prince, Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney, the Cheetah Girls and other musical acts, and produced Celine Dion's Las Vegas show and the international museum tour of King Tut's artifacts.

In downtown Los Angeles, AEG is overseeing the development of L.A. Live, a 4-million-square-foot, $2.5-billion sports, residential and entertainment district.

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