The O2's owner AEG has responded to the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Company's plans for a next generation venue in London, which would challenge its dominance of the capital's arena sector.
MSG’s executive chairman and CEO, Jim Dolan, confirmed last month that the company intends to make London the home of its first international venue after purchasing nearly five acres of land in Stratford - next to Westfield Stratford City shopping centre - for £60 million. MSG is expected to launch the plans tomorrow.
However, a spokesman for AEG, which also operates SSE Arena, Wembley and venues such as Staples Center in Los Angeles, has queried the proximity of MSG's proposed new building to existing sites.
“AEG understands competition in the live music industry and does not oppose the principle of a new music venue in London," he said. "However, there is a question mark over whether such a venue should be located in East London so close to existing venues at the Olympic Park – such as the London Stadium and Copper Box – as well as AEG’s own nearby venue, The O2 arena.
"It is imperative that MSG’s proposals do not add to congestion in the area, especially on the Jubilee Line, which is critical for the movement of guests to and from The O2 arena.
"AEG always strives to ensure that its guests have the best possible experience when they visit our venues and we will work with local stakeholders to ensure MSG’s plans do not affect this.”
MSG's London arena would see it go head-to-head for shows with The O2 and SSE Arena, Wembley. The development is a new twist to the ongoing dispute between rival live music companies AEG, Azoff MSG Entertainment and Live Nation, which began when Azoff MSG reportedly started refusing to book acts into its prestigious Madison Square Garden venue in New York unless they also played the company’s Los Angeles venue, The Forum, over AEG’s Staples Center. AEG hit back, informing agents and promoters that acts that choose The Forum over the SC will not be booked into its premier London venue, The O2.