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Insiders say L.A.-based AEG -- the country's second-largest concert firm that opened an office here this summer -- will soon announce plans to build a 12,000-capacity outdoor venue. Now, AEG's venue options are extremely limited.

To survive here, AEG must try to take business from Live Nation, the country's largest concert company that controls Coors Amphitheatre, 4th&B, House of Blues, and SDSU's Open Air Theatre and Cox Arena.

San Diego's outdoor venues include Coors Amphitheatre (20,000) and the Open Air Theatre (4600). Promoters are less likely to use the Embarcadero/Bayside facility (5000--8000) due to noise issues. High labor-union costs associated with the use of Balboa Park's Starlight Bowl (3500) influence the viability of that amphitheatre.

A call to local AEG chief Steve Redfearn was not returned.

San Diego's last major duel between promoters was in the mid-'90s. Bill Silva Presents and L.A.-based Universal Concerts (which later morphed into House of Blues Concerts, then Live Nation) were vying to build outdoor amphitheaters. Universal hoped to build in Chula Vista; Silva had his eye on Poway. Both sides knew that whoever garnered approval first would win the market battle because the county could not support two amphitheaters.

Resistance from Poway residents killed Silva's plans. Chula Vista welcomed the construction of what was named Coors Amphitheatre. When it became clear that Universal would become the premier local concert company because it controlled the largest venue in town, Silva folded up his local operations and moved to L.A. to manage artists and book the Hollywood Bowl.

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