Live Nation venues for sale


NASHVILLE -- Live Nation is looking to shed some sheds.

As part of an ongoing evaluation of its real estate holdings, the world's largest promoter and venue operator confirms it did list Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (formerly Deer Creek Amphitheatre) in Noblesville, Ind. (near Indianapolis), and Germain Amphitheatre (formerly Polaris Amphitheater) in Columbus, Ohio, with international real estate brokerage CB Richard Ellis.

Sources say Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Marysville, Calif. (near Sacramento) is also on the block, and Starwood Amphitheatre in Antioch, Tenn., (near Nashville) may be next.

All of these venues have capacities of between 18,000-20,000, and all will present full concert seasons in 2007.

The move to divest its real estate holdings is not unexpected as Live Nation moves forward as an independent, free-standing company following its spinoff from Clear Channel Communications in late 2005. Many of the amphitheaters it owns are 15 years old or older, and in some cases the land they occupy is now worth far more than the revenues generated by concerts.

It is worth noting that none of these venues have been sold as of yet. If the money does not get to where Live Nation deems it needs to be to make a sale worthwhile, operating some 50 amphitheaters still gives the promoter plenty of leverage when it comes to routing warm-weather tours.

But, with the $350 million acquisition of House Of Blues Entertainment last year and it's club network (and LN CEO Michael Rapino's admitted desire to capitalize on the hot small and midsized venue market), and the need to pay for an aggressive buying spree in 2006, moving some of the less-productive real estate holdings seems a savvy move.