One-time enemies Pearl Jam and Ticketmaster have formed an alliance, along with Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation, Azoff MSG Entertainment and the Oak View Group, to win a contract to redevelop and restore Seattle’s legendary Key Arena. According to Billboard, the partnership is bidding to wrest control of the venue from its current owner, AEG. One incentive to let the Live Nation group have the contract would be a possible residency by Pearl Jam at the venue once it is renovated and re-opened.
- The new Key Arena would be modeled after the Forum in Los Angeles, once an aging and disused arena that was transformed into a state-of-the-art concert hall.
- According to Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke, Pearl Jam doesn’t “love the acoustics” at the Key Arena, adding, “But they love Seattle.” He said that the intent is to persuade the band to “play the building a lot.”
- The Live Nation group’s plans to renovate the facility include a major acoustical upgrade and turning it into a 19,000-seat concert venue that could also host a basketball or hockey team if one can be lured to the city.
- AEG has its own competing plan to change the arena into the “Seattle Coliseum,” with more luxury suites.
- Pearl Jam and Ticketmaster famously went to war in 1994, with the band accusing the ticketing giant of acting like a monopoly and demanding the company charge no more than a $1.80 service fee for tickets.
- Bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard testified before Congress against Ticketmaster and the band even tried to tour non-Ticketmaster venues, before eventually being forced to use the service for the bulk of its tours.