THE BUSINESS AND POLITICS OF SPORTS
As the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils battle for Lord Stanley's Cup, the question that needs to be asked is this. Who is the real winner here and what does that winner get? If you answered the Los Angeles Kings or the New Jersey Devils you guessed incorrectly.
Sure one of those teams will lift the Cup but the real winner is Phil Anschutz, the owner of the Los Angeles Kings, the Los Angeles arena where the team plays, which generates money by having the name of a stationery store on the building marquee, LA Live and the booker for the Newark arena that houses the New Jersey Devils.
The winner gets buckets filled with arena money. Anschutz gets the buckets.
Anschutz has had a huge year. Sure his hockey team has made it to the finals but his hockey team started the season in October by playing the Buffalo Sabres in Berlin, Germany. Ordinarily a team from Los Angeles would not fly across the United States and take a Trans-Atlantic flight and play some 7,000 miles and nine time zones away from the home base. But Anschutz has a vested interest in playing a game in Berlin; his company Anschutz Entertainment Group owns the Berlin arena where the game took place.
Anschutz's company has a stake in the success of the arena in Newark. On Feb. 8, 2007, Anschutz's AEG Live signed a deal with New Jersey Devils ownership to book concerts and other live events into the Newark building.
Anschutz is doing rather well with the arena in a climate where the Devils and Newark have fought over revenue and when Devils ownership has money problems. AEG has helped turned the Newark arena into tenth place on the strength of 66 events on the global list of arenas that produce the most revenue.
Anschutz's London arena and his Los Angeles venue took the top two spots in revenues generated.
While Anschutz is not taking money in from Devils games, his company is in bed with the Devils and is actively working to maximize revenues in the Devils building. That probably is good news for the bond holders who are looking for money from Devils owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek.