Public bids will be accepted for the first time in more than 10 years to operate Oakland, CA’s two major venues, the Overstock.com Coliseum and Oracle Arena, a development that is expected to pit Live Nation in direct competition with rival Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) for the contract.
Both venues are owned by the city and governed by the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, which had used SMG for the past 13 years. But, in recent years the two venues reportedly have been underutilized, and earlier this month SMG was criticized by fans and the media for its handling of Coliseum parking issues during a U2 concert.
Late last week, the Authority’s commissioners decided to open the bid process to test the waters, which now gives several entities a chance to grab the venues’ business. The Authority had considered signing another 10-year contract with SMG.
“This commission can gain a lot by at least testing the market,” Commissioner Scott Haggerty said during an Authority meeting, according to the Oakland Tribune.
The Request for Proposal document is currently being prepared by coliseum executive director Mark Kaufman and will be released in mid- to late-August; bids are expected to be submitted sometime in September.
While neither venue is currently among the nation’s leading 10 in TicketNews’ exclusive Top Venues rankings, taking over their operations would be a nice addition to a company’s stable. The Coliseum is home to the popular but poor-performing Oakland Raiders football team and Oakland A’s baseball team, and the Oracle Arena is home to the Golden State Warriors basketball team.
AEG, which currently operates the Staples Center in Los Angeles in addition to other blue chip facilities, recently teamed up with Outbox Technology and former Ticketmaster CEO Fred Rosen to launch an ambitious ticketing alternative to Ticketmaster, so claiming other high-profile venues like the Coliseum and the Oracle would be further evidence that it is a major competitor to Live Nation.
A spokesperson for AEG/Outbox declined to comment on the contract or a possible bid.
In addition to AEG, Comcast-Spectacor’s Global Spectrum is also expected to bid, as is SMG again, which may even team up with Live Nation for its effort. Live Nation turned to SMG for ticketing before it merged with Ticketmaster.
“For me personally, when there has been a contract in place for more than ten years and there hasn’t been a public process, it’s important that we go out and do that,” said Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks, according to the East Bay Express.