Front Line acquires Dale Morris

Management firm now under Ticketmaster umbrella

NASHVILLE -- Irving Azoff's Front Line Management has quietly acquired Dale Morris & Associates, home to country music's top touring artist in Kenny Chesney, along with Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson.

Founded by Dale Morris, who worked with Alabama until the band's retirement in 2004, Morris & Associates has been Chesney's only management home. Since 2002, Chesney has grossed some $400 million and moved 7 million tickets, according to Billboard Boxscore. He is in the midst of a multi-year touring deal with TMG/AEG Live, and is country's top ticket seller, playing multiple stadiums along with amphitheaters and arenas.

Clint Higham at Morris has overseen Chesney's day-to-day management duties since 1993, well before Chesney had established himself as a headliner. "All of us at Morris Management Group are thrilled to be in business with Irving Azoff and the very smart people at Front Line," Higham told "Irving is the face of the music business and with our new strategic partnership it gives us a further reach for our clients. We have had the great fortune of being able to go to the moon and back with our clients and this will ensure us that we continue to do so."

Chesney's move to Front Line comes in the wake of the defection of Tim McGraw from the Front Line group to Coran Capshaw's Red Light Management. McGraw had been signed with Front Line affiliate RPM Management. Front Line also has ties with Brooks & Dunn management company Spalding Entertainment. Front Line is now a division of Ticketmaster Entertainment, which is attempting to merge with Live Nation pending government approval.