A rumored deal in the making could spell the end for San Diego's last major independent local concert firm.
La Mesa--based Viejas Entertainment, which is a division of Viejas Enterprises, currently books Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay, the Sports Arena, Bayside concerts at the Embarcadero, and all the shows at Viejas Casino. It is rumored that AEG Concerts, the second-largest national concert company, is working on an agreement with the Viejas tribe to take over all of the venues Viejas Entertainment books.
The transfer would give AEG -- which owns half of the Coachella Festival and controls the Staples Center in L.A. -- a foothold in San Diego. Currently, Live Nation -- which owns Coors and books Cox Arena, Open Air Theatre, and Pala Casino -- dominates the local music scene. Live Nation is the largest U.S. concert company.
Insiders say Viejas Entertainment talent buyer John Wojas would leave Viejas and work for AEG.
Viejas Entertainment president Steve Redfearn says there have been meetings between AEG and the Sports Arena, but nothing has been finalized. As for Viejas Entertainment getting swallowed up by AEG: "I have heard those rumors, too, but at this time they are not true."
Last week Sports Arena general manager Ernie Hahn said his company Arena Group 2000 was in talks to move the Sports Arena to National City.
"That does not surprise me," says one insider. "The Hahns are real estate developers, not venue operators. They want to develop that property [where the Sports Arena is now], but the public doesn't want high-density condos there. They want an arena."