Leiweke made his mark on the downtown Los Angeles skyline with projects such as Staples Center and L.A. Live, spent the last two and a half years leading Toronto-based Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. He was the public face of AEG during his 17-year career there before being ousted in a 2013 corporate shake-up.
Now he has returned to the Southland, where he's joined forces with a well-connected ally, longtime music industry power-player Irving Azoff. The two have launched an L.A.-based entertainment advisory, development and investment company — dubbed the Oak View Group — in a bid to help venues around the country to make more money from live events.
Leiweke will serve as the new company's chief executive, while Azoff will join its board of directors. Azoff MSG Entertainment, a joint venture between Azoff's management firm and the Madison Square Garden Co., is investing in Oak View. Leiweke is putting his own money into the Oak View Group.
Azoff and Leiweke have worked together since the latter's early days at AEG. Now they are trying to come up with new business models for venues as the live music industry grows. That could mean developing new, bustling entertainment districts around venues, in addition to sponsors.
He joined Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment in 2013 after he was ousted as CEO of AEG, a position he'd held since 1996. At MLSE, Leiweke oversaw sports franchises including the NHL's Maple Leafs and the NBA's Raptors, venues including Air Canada Centre, and three TV channels. MLSE lnamed Michael Friisdahl as its new president and chief executive. Leiweke said in summer 2014 that he would leave the company for new opportunities in sports and entertainment.