AEG goes live in the Middle East

International promoter appoints Thomas Ovesen head of new Middle East operation.
Former Mirage GM Thomas Ovesen will steer the new AEG Live Middle East operation.
Former Mirage GM Thomas Ovesen will steer the new AEG Live Middle East operation.

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Hot on the heels of last month's acquisition of Dubai-based Mirage Promotions by live entertainment powerhouse Live Nation, rival international promotions firm AEG Live has established a permanent regional presence in Dubai, helmed by local industry stalwart Thomas Ovesen.

Ovesen, who is the former general manager of Mirage, has been named managing director of the company and will work to expand its interests in the region, particularly in the GCC.

In addition to boasting exclusive management rights deals with some of the world's biggest performers, AEG owns or operates top rate venues including London's O2 Arena and the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Its AEG Live division has promoted tours by artists including Britney Spears, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Christina Aguilera & Justin Timberlake. In 2005 alone, the company issued more than $700 million worth of event tickets. In 2007, AEG staged more than 3500 events and sold more than 30 million tickets worldwide. With two of the world's most recognised promoters now based in Dubai, the emirate looks set to rapidly develop its growing reputation as a key destination for international performers.

Ovesen was understandably upbeat about his new role and the burgeoning reputation of the region as a tour destination for international artists.

"My vision is that the UAE will remain the hub for live entertainment for the entire region with everything from musicals to rock concerts flocking here," he said.

"There's a large population from all over the world living here who demand shows of every conceivable kind and a great willingness from people living elsewhere in the region to travel to Dubai to be entertained. I believe the future is here."

Randy Phillips, president and chief executive of AEG Live, modestly described Ovesen as a "brilliant businessman" and the region's "best promoter".

"We have been targeting the Middle East as a key emerging market for some time," he said. "We can't wait to get started there with [Ovesen]. He is very artist friendly and some of the world's greatest stars come to him time and time again."

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