The Showbox, a Seattle music icon since 1939, has been sold to national entertainment group AEG Live. Jeff Steichen, the longtime owner...
The Showbox, a Seattle music icon since 1939, has been sold to national entertainment group AEG Live. Jeff Steichen, the longtime owner of the Showbox, confirmed the sale Tuesday morning. Steichen will remain as the general manager of two Showbox venues, the two largest clubs in Seattle: Showbox at the Market (seating capacity of 1,150) and Showbox SoDo (1,500).
AEG Live, a Los Angeles-based sports and music presenter, is a subsidiary of Anschutz Entertainment Group. According to its Web site, www.aeglive.com, AEG Live “has an international reach with regional and local presence in Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, London, Nashville, Houston, Dallas, St. Louis, Atlanta, Denver and Seattle.” The company owns or operates huge venues (Staples Center and The Home Depot Center in the L.A. area), sports teams (Major League Soccer teams the L.A. Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo) and is quite a music player. In addition to the venues, it produces the Coachella Valley Music Festival and promotes national tours for the likes of Justin Timberlake, Bon Jovi, Prince and Paul McCartney.
In recent years, AEG has crept into Seattle, booking the WaMu Theater at Qwest Field, as well as concerts at the Puyallup Fair.
As for Steichen, he been active as a buyer in the local music scene in recent years. He led a group that took over the old piano bar Sorry Charlie’s, turning it first into a hip club, then a sports bar. More recently, he purchased the failing Fenix, which in turn had taken over the Sodo space originally occupied by the Premier nightclub. That space, at 1700 First Ave. S., has become Showbox SoDo, with the original downtown space — just off Pike Place Market at 1426 First Ave. — called Showbox at the Market.
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Now, Steichen has become a seller. Commenting via e-mail Tuesday, Steichen stated: “The acquisition of The Shoxbox [clubs by AEG Live] will only make things better. We are excited to be a small part of a vast network of entertainment opportunities. There will be no changes in personnel. We like AEG’s approach to the marketplace. We aren’t the first small group and won’t be the last acquired by AEG.
“It’s also a nice fit for our special-event company Showbox2 (www.Showbox2.Com),” which puts on corporate and private entertainment events. “We are also attracted to the international aspect of AEG,” Steichen stated in the e-mail.
The purchase price was not disclosed, and AEG Live did not return a call early Tuesday.
Two weeks ago, as rumors stirred that the Showbox was for sale, talent buyer Chad Queirolo e-mailed a response, complaining about media following up on the rumors, and issuing what now turns out to be a nondenial denial:
“Please take note. The Showbox building has not been sold. We have a new five-year lease on top of our current lease at The Market location as well as a 15-year lease at the Sodo location.”
Queirolo will also stay in his position, according to a release from AEG Live.
While some might be shocked that local clubs have been sold to a major national player, it won’t really mean much to local music. The Showbox venues regularly host shows by touring acts like Flogging Molly, Pepper, Avenged Sevenfold (coming Sunday to the Market), Wu-Tang Clan (Dec. 30, SoDo) and Tesla (Feb. 1, Market).
Few local acts can fill the huge venues, although Seattle soul/rock band Maktub does headline a New Year’s Eve show at Showbox at the Market, and Seattle’s new pop star Blake Lewis plays from his new “Audio Daydream” album there on Dec. 20.
Tom Scanlon: email@example.com