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July 23, 2007

Red Bull negotiating to buy out Red Bull Park from AEG


Red Bull is seeking full owernship of Red Bull Park, sources said.
Red Bull is seeking full owernship of Red Bull Park, sources said.
Photo courtesy of Red Bulls
By Michael Lewis Editor

Red Bull is negotiating buying out Anschutz Entertainment Group’s share of $100 million Red Bull Park, has learned.

The reason for the split was that the Red Bull plans were different than that of AEG, which delayed the start of the building of the soccer-specific stadium, according to reliable sources. Red Bull management made a number of changes to its plans, which exasperated AEG at times, sources said.

The Red Bulls, owned by Austrian energy drink producer Red Bull, purchased the MetroStars from AEG in March 2006 for $100 million, which included half of the 25,000-seat stadium and the Harrison, N.J. facility's naming rights. The team was renamed the Red Bulls.

In May, Red Bull announced that the opening of the stadium could be delayed to the 2009 season due to delays in the clean-up of industrial waste at the stadium. That apparently was not the case, according to one source, who said the delays were made by Red Bull headquarters in Salzburg.

Red Bull did not want a stage for concerts at one of the ends of the stadium, which was the AEG plan to make more money from the facility, and wanted to change the design of the stadium, which caused the delay, according to sources.

According to one source, the two parties last week were deep in talks about finalizing the deal. Another source claimed a deal was finalized two weeks ago, but that could not be confirmed.

Nick Sakiewicz, president of AEG New York/New Jersey and former Metros president and GM who spearheaded the stadium effort over the past six years, was unavailable for comment.

Red Bulls managing director Marc de Grandpre was out of the country and unavailable for comment.

The Red Bulls “respectfully declined comment.”
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