The Los Angeles Kings try to sweep the Stanley Cup Championship this Wednesday evening against the New York Rangers. The battle between the companies that own the two teams goes deeper than the ice.
Anschutz Entertainment Group – or AEG - owns the Kings, and the Madison Square Garden Company– MSG – owns the Rangers. In addition to owning sports teams, both companies own major venues – like Staples Center and Madison Square Garden - and stage big concerts.
"Corporations don’t usually own sports teams, and to have two that are in the same silos I think is kinda unique," says Bob Gutkowski, a partner with Innovative Sports and Entertainment, and the former CEO of Madison Square Garden.
"It’s important for both corporations to win because it can really help that particular business and that could potentially bleed into other parts of their business," Gutkowski says.
Tony Knopp, founder of Calabasas-based Spotlight Ticket Management Services agrees.
"Both companies are trying to be entertainment providers, and part of being an entertainment provider is having that press that you have the golden touch, that the teams that you are tied to are good teams," Knopp says.
The war between AEG and MSG really got going two years ago, when AEG began operating the Barclays Center in Brooklyn – MSG’s backyard. Earlier this year, MSG fired back by reviving the Forum in Inglewood, where the Kings used to play. Knopp says MSG has brought shine to the Forum with concerts by The Eagles, Sting and Paul Simon, with Tom Petty and Justin Timberlake on the way.
"The reality is, AEG needs to have some of that shine as well, especially considering that the premiere tenant of the Staples Center – the Lakers – are a little bit down right now," Knopp says.