Entrepreneur Of The Year 2009
Road to Palm Springs
Timothy J. Leiweke
Los Angeles, Calif.
Timothy Leiweke, the powerhouse behind the global sports empire AEG, never had a chance to go to college but used his talents and pluck to become a self-made man who would touch millions of lives. Leiweke started his career in sports administration at age 23 by sparking enthusiasm for indoor soccer in St. Louis, adopting innovations such as the theatrical team introductions that are now standard in professional sports.
Flush with success from this and subsequent ventures, Leiweke felt confident in 1995 when he was hired as president of the Los Angeles Kings hockey club. But he quickly realized that the franchise and the city needed a new sports venue, launching him on a daunting two-year quest to create the 20,000-seat STAPLES Center in downtown LA. Leiweke overcame the obstacles by gaining the commitment of major tenants like the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers — a business model he would continue to follow.Today, AEG operates 52 major sports complexes and convention centers around the world, including The 02 in London and the 02 World Arena in Berlin. It is the world’s
second-largest live entertainment company and owns more sports teams and events than any other company. With 15,000 employees and sales approaching $2 billion in 2008, AEG is currently overseeing the development of LA LIVE, a mammoth sports, residential and entertainment district in LA.