LN Sheds Another One

Live Nation has apparently decided not to exercise a five-year option to manage Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Bonner Springs, Kan., and announced June 20th that it will let its contract expire at the end of the year.

Negotiations stalled in May when Live Nation reportedly asked Wyandotte County to build, and foot the bill for, a bigger stage.

Deputy county administrator Doug Bach told the Kansas City Star that no renovations were in the works for the venue.

"We have talked to [Live Nation] about doing some expansion and modernizing the facility," Bach told the paper at the time, "But we don’t have plans at this time to do that."

But with a contract expiring soon and a real estate portfolio being streamlined, Live Nation apparently decided it didn’t have time to wait.

Concerts already booked for the 2007 summer season won’t be affected by the decision, according to a statement from the company, and Live Nation hopes to reassign many of the shed’s staff elsewhere.

The shed was originally known as the Sandstone Amphitheatre, and although it is across the river in the state of Kansas, it is the primary outdoor venue in the Kansas City market.

Even if Live Nation’s decision to opt out is based on an isolated dispute with some county administrators, this is ultimately one fewer shed LN is associated with.

Live Nation has been seeking to "optimize its venue portfolio," according to the statement, and the amphitheatre increases the number of sheds LN intends to hive off. Of approximately 50 outdoor venues LN either owned, operated or exclusively booked at the beginning of the year, seven are so far expected to be jettisoned, including the already-sold Starwood Amphitheatre near Nashville.

The company said it remains committed to the Kansas City market, where it faces increasing competition from AEG, which is about to open the new Sprint Center Arena.