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New LA Stadium hires four, including AEG’s Castillo Butcher

LA Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park (LASED), a new venue and entertainment complex in Los Angeles, has made four new high-profile hires as it gears up for opening in 2020.

The 298-acre Hollywood Park will comprise a 70,240-seat stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue, along with 1.5m square feet of office and retail space, a hotel and more than 20 acres of parkland.

It is currently being built in Inglewood, California – also home to Madison Square Garden Company’s the Forum, as well as an in-the-works new basketball arena – by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) owner Stan Kroenke.

New to LASED are Christy Castillo Butcher, Kameron Durham, Skarpi Hedinsson and Joe Sesin, who join as senior vice-president of programming, VP of guest experience, CTO and VP of finance and accounting, respectively.

Castillo Butcher most recently served as senior VP of booking and events for AEG’s Staples Center (21,000-cap.) and Microsoft Theatre in central LA. She spent 19 years at Staples Center and played a key role in booking some of the venue’s most successful events, including the 2000 Democratic National Convention, multiple Grammy Awards ceremonies and X Games competitions, and more than 250 sold-out concerts.

“We are assembling a dedicated organisation of talented individuals”

All four will report to LASED managing director Jason Gannon.

“As part of Mr Kroenke’s vision for this global sports and entertainment destination, we are assembling a dedicated organisation of talented individuals,” says Gannon. “To that end, we are thrilled to welcome Christy, Kameron, Skarpi and Joe to our team.

“Each brings a unique expertise that will help us deliver an unparallelled experience for all who visit Hollywood Park.”

Hollywood Park is projected to open in 2020, with American football clubs Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers expected to move in around August. When the two teams move to LA Stadium, where they will play their home games, it will mark the return of major professional sports to Inglewood for the first time since the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings (a basketball and ice-hockey team, respectively) left The Forum for Staples Center in 1999.

 


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MSG sues Inglewood mayor over “secret” arena plans

The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) has filed a lawsuit against James T. Butts Jnr, the mayor of Inglewood, accusing him of defrauding its Forum venue over allegedly secret plans to build a new arena just south of the Forum.

The 46-page complaint, filed yesterday (5 March) in Los Angeles superior court, details what MSG calls “the improper actions of the city, Mayor Butts (in both his public and private roles) and other co-defendants that jeopardise the Forum”. The company says Butts and local authorities held secret negotiations with the LA Clippers, a basketball team, to “deprive” MSG of 15 acres of land it leased from the city for arena parking, allegedly telling MSG the city needed the land for a “technology park”.

“Knowing the Forum needed the land for parking and would not give up its lease for a competitive arena literally down the street, the city secretly negotiated with the Clippers,” according to the Forum’s lawyer, Marvin Putnam of Latham & Watkins.

“The city did not use the parking lease property for a technology park or comparable development, nor did Mayor Butts or the city ever intend to do so,” the lawsuit alleges.

The Clippers announced plans for a new “world-class basketball arena” – allegedly on the site of the proposed ‘technology park’ – last month.

“The city’s actions violated the lease between the city and Forum”

“Seemingly aware of his deception”, Butts, MSG alleges, even directed Forum executives to email him about the parking lease only at his personal Gmail account so he could keep discussions “confidential”.

“The city’s actions violated the lease between the city and Forum, the development agreement between the Forum and the city, and fundamental principles of good faith and fair dealing as required by California law,” says Putnam.

The development agreement between the two parties requires MSG to invest at least US$50 million in the venue and meet ongoing ticket minimums guaranteeing about $600,000 in revenue for the city each year for 30 years. In return, the lawsuit says, the city explicitly agrees to not engage in “any action or proceeding” that would cause “a material adverse impact on the […] economic competitiveness of the Forum.”

In addition to the 17,500-cap. LA Forum, Madison Square Garden Company owns Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre, in New York, and the Chicago Theatre, as well as the New York Knicks and New York Liberty basketball teams and the New York Rangers ice hockey team.

The company also last month revealed plans for futuristic new venues in Las Vegas and London, based on its cutting-edge MSG Sphere concept.

 


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Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa to play CoD fan event

Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa have been announced as joint musical headliners for Call of Duty XP 2016, a fan convention for the Call of Duty (CoD) video-game franchise.

The rappers will close the event on Sunday 4 September at The Forum arena (17,505-cap.) in Inglewood, California, following in the footsteps of Kanye West, who headlined the last CoD XP in 2011.

“Call of Duty XP is the ultimate Call of Duty fan experience,” says Rob Kostich, executive vice-president and general manager for Call of Duty at publisher Activision. “It’s going to be an amazing time for our fans, even more so now with Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa there to cap this epic, multi-day event.”

“It’s going to be an amazing time for our fans, even more so now with Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa there to cap this epic, multi-day event”

Call of Duty XP 2016 will also feature the Call of Duty World League Championship (first prize: US$2 million) and the world première of the multiplayer mode for new game Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

According to Statistic Brain, over 252 million Call of Duty games have been sold worldwide since 2003.

Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa are currently co-headlining the Merry Jane/Live Nation-promoted High Road tour, which will stop at the Sunlight Supply Amphitheater (18,000-cap.) in Ridgefield, Washington, tomorrow.

 


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