MSGE wraps up deal for Chicago Theatre


NASHVILLE -- Although the word has been out since the fall, Madison Square Garden Entertainment officially announced Friday that it has closed the deal to acquire the Chicago Theatre for an undisclosed price.

MSGE, the live entertainment arm of Cablevision System, purchased the venue from Theatre Dreams Chicago, which purchased the venue from the city of Chicago for $3 million in 2003.

The venue is now the fifth venue in MSGE's portfolio, which includes Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the Beacon Theatre and the WaMu Theatre at Madison Square Garden.

The Chicago Theatre, a 3,600-seat venue located on State Street in the North Loop Theatre District of Chicago, was built in 1921 and designed in the French Baroque style by architects Cornelius W. Rapp and George L. Rapp. Designated a Chicago Landmark building in 1983, the venue has presented a wide range of concerts and events, as well as such Broadway tours as "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "Dreamgirls."

"Madison Square Garden is in the midst of a period of growth unlike any other in our long and storied history," said Hank J. Ratner, vice chairman of Madison Square Garden and Cablevision Systems. "Now, the acquisition of The Chicago Theatre allows us to further expand our presence in live entertainment management geographically, with one of the most revered and historic venues in the country. Our plan is to continue to seek creative opportunities and utilize the unique strength of our brands to grow our business beyond its traditional boundaries."

Under the MSGE banner, the Chicago Theatre is scheduled to host about 140 concerts and events in the upcoming year, up 40% from 2007. MSGE will also look to diversify the event schedule to include an increased number of theatrical and family shows, and special events.

Jay Marciano is president of MSGE, and stated on a panel at the Billboard Music & Money Symposium last month that his company would continue to consider opportunities outside of New York for both venues and MSGE productions.