2024 Impact 50 Honoree: Henry Cárdenas


FIRST JOB IN THE BIZ: Throwing disco parties in college.


The live entertainment industry isn’t for the faint of heart and its ever-evolving landscape isn’t easy to keep up with, especially in this digital era of streaming and social media. But some manage to stay ahead of it, luminaries who adapt to the change and somehow get better with age.

Henry Cárdenas is among those visionaries, leading the charge in Latin music as one of the top promoters in the game and who is possibly having the greatest year of his four-decade career with Luis Miguel’s extensive global run as well as a partnership between his company, Cárdenas Marketing Network (CMN) and AEG Presents.

“I’m very happy, and working like usual,” Cárdenas, founder and CEO of CMN, told Pollstar in March after the partnership was announced. “The year has been amazing. I know for everybody it’s the same, but for me, I think it’s going to be better than 2022, which was my best year in 44 years.”

With a historic deal and one of the highest-grossing tours of the past year, how could it not be the veteran promoter’s best? He’s produced concerts for some of the most iconic Latin artists — including Bad Bunny, Feid, Ana Gabriel, Aventura, Marc Anthony and Chayanne — and the partnership with AEG Presents will only elevate the experience one is accustomed to from shows promoted by CMN.

“Henry is a true entrepreneur and visionary, and what he and his team have built is simply awe-inspiring. We have been looking to expand our presence in Latin music and concerts for quite some time, and it was important that we took the time to find the right partner; we found it in Henry and CMN,” fellow Impact 50 honoree Jay Marciano, AEG Presents chairman and CEO, stated when announcing the partnership. “AEG Presents has always placed a premium on preserving the identity and unique voice of our partner brands while providing them with the support and infrastructure to expand their reach and influence. Cárdenas Marketing Network is the most recognized and trusted name in Latin concert promotion, and we are so proud to welcome Henry and his team to the family.”

Cárdenas founded CMN in 2001 and built it up to become one of the most influential companies in live entertainment while elevating Latin music. His company was No. 7 on the most recent Pollstar’s Top 100 Promoters chart with grosses of nearly $300 million, and it will again be one of the top earners at the end of this year thanks in large measure to Luis Miguel, who returned to the road for the first time since 2019. The Latin crooner has performed more than 120 shows since last August and hauled in more than $276 million off 1,853,639 tickets sold, according to reports submitted to Pollstar’s Boxoffice.

Miguel, who is nicknamed “Micki” by his friends, including the late Frank Sinatra, signed a massive 143-date deal with CMN and the singer has enjoyed the experience as well as the partnership with Cárdenas and he keeps adding shows to the agreement.

To achieve such a feat, Miguel needed to have an extensive run throughout Latin America, which is not a problem for Cárdenas, who understands the growing markets in South America and boasts connections with venue operators, government leaders and music execs to help the singer pull it off.

“People in Latin America enjoy any concert more than those in the United States,” Cárdenas said. “I’m not trying to put down the consumer in the United States, but it’s a fast-paced life that we live here. If you have a concert at 8 p.m., … people going to Crypto.com Arena [in Los Angeles] show up like an hour before a show. In Latin America, they start at 3 p.m. and tailgate. It’s just that the U.S. has so much more content and so many more opportunities when it comes to entertainment. But in South America, … they’re going to make sure those $100 are being enjoyed all night long.” Through his company, Cárdenas has consistently delivered memorable experiences across the U.S. and Latin America with an understanding of the Latino and Hispanic consumer, which is why a major player like AEG Presents wants to work with him. With promoters like Cárdenas, música Latina will certainly continue to grow and buoy the live entertainment industry.