Irving Plays The Garden

Madison Square Garden has acquired a minority interest in Irving Azoff’s Front Line Management as part of MSG’s plan to expand more into the music industry.

"We invited Madison Square Garden to be one of the Front Line Management partners due to their extraordinary commitment to artists," Azoff said in the statement. "MSG’s resources complement our management mandate to create new and exciting artist opportunities and marketing platforms on behalf of our artist roster."

MSG, the live entertainment arm of Cablevision Systems Corporations, includes Madison Square Garden Entertainment, which handles events at Radio City Music Hall, the Garden, WaMu Theatre at Madison Square Garden, Beacon Theatre and the recently acquired Chicago Theatre.

Front Line’s artist roster includes dozens of headliners like Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Neil Diamond, Van Halen, Fleetwood Mac, Christina Aguilera, Stevie Nicks, Aerosmith, Steely Dan, Chicago and Journey.

What this means for both companies was not made clear in the statement, but a source close to the situation told Pollstar that it falls in line with the new inclusive models of the entertainment business.

Cablevision runs music service Fuse TV, for instance, broadcasting to 60 million homes. Also, with the recent purchase of the Chicago Theatre, MSG Entertainment has increased its reach beyond the NYC area.  It appears the parties do not have a specific endgame for this alliance but, basically, expect good things to come from it.

Front Line was recently in the middle of a rumored alliance between Cablevision, IAC and AEG, which would have Ticketmaster, MSG and the most powerful management company in North America shaking hands with the second-largest promotion company in the world. That deal never happened, but this recent announcement draws a direct line between Cablevision, through Front Line, to TM, with a promotional company (MSGE) in between.

Financial terms of the deal were not released.