AEG Enters San Diego

The bulk of the team that ran Viejas Entertainment in San Diego has left the company and formed a regional office for AEG Live.

Viejas president Steve Redfearn and talent buyer John Wojas, along with five of the remaining six employees of the company, have set up shop as an AEG team, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. With the move, AEG hopes to build a 6,000-seat venue in San Diego County or take over an existing one, the paper said.

Meanwhile, AEG is looking at injecting some cash into the 14,000-capacity San Diego Sports Arena, according to the paper. AEG is branching into the major markets as a facility operator and, like many facility operators, tends to put money into the buildings to help draw the big tours. However, AEG does not operate the Sports Arena.

Viejas Entertainment, which is run by the Viejas tribe, has gone far beyond its original role of booking the tribe’s casino entertainment. It has been competing for shows at the Sports Arena, SOMA San Diego, Copley Symphony Hall, RIMAC Arena and Del Mar Race Track in addition to its Viejas Concerts In The Park, DreamCatcher and Bayside Concerts with Viejas.

"John and I are excited to join AEG Live," Redfearn said in a statement. "We’ve known the good people at AEG Live for many years and have always enjoyed working with them. With a small company at viejas Entertainment, we maintained a large market share in San Diego; with AEG Live, we know we will have an even bigger presence."

AEG Live COO Gom Miserendino echoed the sentiment, saying Redfearn and Wojas have proven track records and will benefit the AEG team as it expects to expand its presence in San Diego.

The company recently landed an exclusive booking agreement with the 1,380-capacity Humphrey’s By The Bay. Humphrey’s has a one-year contract with Viejas, signed in September, and will reportedly have to wait until this fall to decide if it’s sticking with the company. Humphrey’s went with the Redfearn-helmed Viejas over fellow suitors Live Nation, House of Blues Concerts and Nederlander.

Meanwhile, SOMA has already aligned itself with AEG Live, the paper said.

Four Viejas shows at Embarcadero Marina Park South – Smashing Pumpkins, Hilary Duff, White Stripes and Diana Krall – are being shifted to Live Nation venues, the paper said.

Redfearn did not return a call seeking comment at press time.