Mark Cuban Brings AEG To Television

When AEG introduced its new ticketing system in February, the company said it would have a television component by 2012 but did not stress it as a significant element of the Axs system. Maybe it was being modest.

Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban has been making the rounds, telling the media Jan. 18 he has become the conduit between AEG and its desired small screen presence. Cuban will rebrand his underwhelming HDNet television channel to AXS Live and, within six months, it will be about show business, 24/7. Meanwhile, Dish Network has agreed to expand the channel’s coverage by 10 million homes, upping it to 35 million total.

Also, it has come out that king-of-all-media Ryan Seacrest has been in talks with AEG for three years about building an entertainment channel, but all agree it is easier to take an existing channel and convert it. Seacrest and his agency, CAA, have taken equity positions in the television channel, which is expected to take the E! cable network head on.

According to AEG, Axs TV will include live entertainment and lifestyle programming and, using its 100 venues worldwide, provide behind-the-scene access to live concerts and music festivals. It will also include red carpet premieres, award shows, parties, pop culture events and in-depth interviews with people and artists in the live entertainment venue.

Some of HDNet’s programming will continue – notably HDNet Fights, Inside MMA, Dan Rather Reports and its Sunday concert series.

Cuban reportedly approached AEG President Tim Leiweke last fall to partner in HDNet after learning of AEG’s communication with Seacrest. As an aside, Cuban’s Mavericks play at the American Airlines Center, a Ticketmaster venue operated by Center Operating Company.

“AEG is very pleased to be involved with Mark Cuban and HDNet and equally as proud to have partners like Ryan Seacrest Media and CAA,” Leiweke said. “The live business continues to grow and expand and the ability to give fans the opportunity to experience live in a different way is something we have been looking for a way to do for years.”

Axs TV will also include programming “from show creation and development to rehearsals, sound-check and performance and right through the after-party,” notably from the venues in the L.A. Live complex. It will also include Video On Demand concerts beginning March 15. In August, Axs and Dish will launch Axs Headliner Club, an online audition site providing local bands and musicians the opportunity to audition to perform at an AEG-affiliated club or theatre.

One year ago, AEG – Ticketmaster’s second-largest client – opted to forego renewing its contract with the ticketing giant and entered into a partnership with Outbox Technologies, run by former TM chief Fred Rosen. The company touted a recent launch of the system at Kansas City’s Sprint Center as flawless.