AEG Ends ‘Statement Of Commitment’ Policy Linking The O2, Staples

The O2, London
The O2 – London
– The O2, London
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AEG Presents CEO Jay Marciano has offered public comment stating the company will no longer block book its venues The O2 in London and Staples Center in Los Angeles. Irving Azoff, whose Azoff MSG Entertainment runs the Forum in Inglewood, has responded.
 “Going forward promoters for artists who want to play the O2 will no longer be required to commit to playing Staples,” AEG Presents CEO Jay Marciano told Variety. “We would only require that commitment if we had reason to believe that artists were being somehow pressured to play the Forum in order to have access to the Garden. But we’ve had a lot of feedback from artists and agents and managers that they’re no longer [feeling that pressure]. We’re pleased that this is the end result.”
Azoff [who is on the board of Oak View Group, Pollstar’s parent company] provided the following statement to Pollstar: “It’s a great day for artists when those of us that make a living serving them recognize that artists should have the right to their own decisions, especially regarding choice of venues to play. I applaud Jay Marciano and AEG’s decision to put artists first and of course thanks to Ozzy and Sharon for standing up for everyone.”
Marciano and Azoff have publicly gone back and forth about the competition between their venues. The issue came to a head in March when Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne made the decision to sue AEG after the company asked Ozzy to sign a “Staples Center Commitment” document outlining a booking policy essentially stipulating that if Ozzy performed at The O2 – London for his “No More Tours 2” tour [which is currently running through the U.S.], the Prince Of Darkness would play Staples at least once.
AEG filed a memorandum seeking the dismissal of that suit June 1, but Judge Dale S. Fischer said that AEG’s arguments were “unpersuasive” and that Osbourne’s allegations that the policy harmed competition were plausible. There is still no word on how Marciano’s decision will affect the Ozzy suit, but presumably this means that the Prince Of Darkness could play the Forum without also playing Staples Center. “No More Tours 2” is currently scheduled to run through the U.S. until October.
In February Marciano wrote to Sharon: “Please understand this dispute is between The Forum and Staples Center and we couldn’t agree with you more — it should always be the artist’s choice. We long for the days when artists and fans came first,” followed by a “PS – The other guys started this first!” 
Marciano references alleged block booking practices between Madison Square Garden Arena in New York and the Forum in Inglewood, which he claims were what pushed his company to formalize the “Statement Of Commitment” policy. 
Azoff provided Billboard with a statement last year addressing the competition between venues, writing: “Premium MSG nights are going to loyal friends of the company. Playing the Forum – the obviously better music venue in Los Angeles – makes you a friend of the company. I only wish we could accommodate everyone with dates in Manhattan, but it’s simple supply and demand.” He added: “Unlike London and Germany, there are now four arenas in the New York area, so if an act can’t play the Garden, they can go elsewhere.”