DEMETRIUS ANDRADE ON MAYWEATHER, COTTO, GOLOVKIN, ALVAREZ, LARA
By Lem Satterfield | June 16, 2014

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Demetrius Andrade called himself "the best in the world" after dropping England's Brian Rose in the first and third rounds of Saturday's seventh round stoppage in defense of his WBO junior middleweight title at Barclays Center.

Andrade (21-0, 14 knockouts), 26, and his promoter, Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing, declared him ready for the likes of RING number one-ranked pound-for-pound fighter, Floyd Mayweather Jr., four-division titllist Miguel Cotto and WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin, if not junior middleweights Saul Alvarez and Erislandy Lara.

"We're ready to go," said DeGuardia of Andrade, who ended an 11-fight winning streak that included three wins by knockout for Rose. "As Demetrius has said, we're looking for the biggest and the best fights out there. 'Canelo,' Cotto, Mayweather, you name them. We're looking for the best fighters out there because we think that we've got the best fighter in the world."

Rose was in agreement.

"Andrade is better than I thought," said Rose. "He may be one of the best out there in the game right now."

But is he ready for someone like Mayweather? Andrade thinks he is.

"I believe that I can beat Floyd Mayweather," said Andrade, who stands 6-foot-1. "There's nobody out there who has a jab like me. There's nobody out there who is as fast as me and who is going to slip and slide and look as good against Floyd Mayweather."

In his past four fights, Mayweather has unanimously decisioned Cotto in defense of his WBA 154-pound title in May 2012, similarly defended his RING and WBC 147-pound championships by dominating Robert Guerrero in May 2013, won a majority decision over Alvarez last September for the RING and WBC junior middleweight championships and added Maidana's WBA welterweight title with a majority decision in May.

"Maidana, he put up a good fight but he was just a bull and Mayweather did what he had to do to beat him. I clearly believe that I can beat Floyd Mayweather," said Andrade. "As you see, he's been picking guys like the Mexican fighters who, you know, have the fan base behind them. That's great. They draw a lot of people, so that's generally what they're looking for. But I'm willing to get in there with Floyd Mayweather."

Skillful fighters such as fellow southpaws DeMarcus Corley and Zab Judah as well as right-hander Shane Mosley all landed quality blows that hurt Mayweather during their unanimous decision losses in May 2004, April 2006 and May 2010, respectively.

"Floyd Mayweather hasn't fought anybody that's young and slick and who has speed and can move like him and that has good footwork and that has a good I.Q. in the ring," said Andrade. "I've got the keys and the tools and the vision and everything that I need to get it done and I'm willing to put him up to that challenge."

It appears that Andrade will have to continue to do major campaigning to break into the Mayweather sweepstakes with considerations for a Sept. 13 return likely to include a rematch with Maidana, RING junior welterweight titleholder Danny Garcia or former titleholder Amir Khan. Garcia was last in action for a disputed majority decision over Mauricio Herrera in March.

"Now if Mayweather wants to pick Danny Garcia, who was in with a tough little boxer like Herrera, you're talking about a situation where Mayweather is way above Herrera, so that's going to just be the same thing," said Andrade. "If Mayweather wants to retire being the best like he's saying, I think before he goes out, that he needs to fight Demetrius Andrade."

Andrade even mentioned the potential for a rise in weight to face 32-year-old Golovkin, who will pursue his 17th consecutive stoppage win opposite former titleholder Daniel Geale on July 26 at Madison Square Garden.

"If the opportunity is right and everything. He's a good fighter. I know there is not a lot of good fighters out there for him right now but 154 is my division," said Andrade.

"But if the talks and everything go right, I could possibly build myself up to 160. I could outbox but I still believe that I have more experience to gain in the ring as a professional. But I'm willing to get in there with anybody to show that I'm the best when the time is right."

Of course, there is also Cotto, whose 10th-round stoppage of Sergio Martinez earned him THE RING and WBC middleweight championships.

"Cotto is one of the greats. He had a great performance against Martinez," said Andrade. "Just like I am, Martinez is a southpaw. Now if you want to see him in there with a great southpaw, then that's me, Demetrius Andrade."

If not any of the aforementioned or a unification bout within the division, Andrade appears willing to face others in the division, including the winner of a July 12 clash between Alvarez and Lara at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

"Ultimately, I'm willing to unify. I want to get all of the belts. I want to be one of the greatest. I want to go after the belts. I don't really want to go after nobody that doesn't have a belt. But back in the day, the best fought the best and that's what I want to do in order to bring boxing back that way. I'm 26 years old; I'm young and I'm in no rush," said Andrade.

"These guys want to take their time and they don't know what they want to do. But if they want to get in there with somebody that's going to really give them a challenge, sooner or later, the cream is going to rise to the top and that's me. So 'Canelo,' Lara, they got the big names but I'm the best. I'm going to show the world and I'm going to just keep doing what I've been doing."

 

 
 
ANDRADE STOPS ROSE, KEEPS TITLE
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com | June 14, 2014
 

NEW YORK -- Junior middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade didn't want to just retain his belt against mandatory challenger Brian Rose.

Andrade also wanted to look impressive doing it in order to make his case that he deserves to face the bigger names in his division, including the likes of Canelo Alvarez and champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Although facing a heavy underdog, Andrade was explosive and impressive as he destroyed Rose in a one-sided seventh-round knockout on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in the co-feature of the card headlined by junior welterweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov's defense against Chris Algieri.

"I'm the best in the world," Andrade said. "I was taking my time and my power was affecting him. I took Round 5 off to see the openings, the sixth round I picked it up, and the seventh round he had to go."

Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs), a 26-year-old southpaw from Providence, Rhode Island, started fast, almost immediately dropping Rose, 29, of England, with a straight left hand in the first round. He could barely miss with the left as Rose rarely moved his head and displayed little defense.

In the third round, Andrade, who was making the first defense of the vacant 154-pound title he won by decision against Vanes Martirosyan in November, dropped Rose (25-2-1, 7 KOs) again, this time clobbering him with a right hook.

In between the knockdowns, Andrade strafed him with combinations to the head and body, opened a bloody cut on the bridge of his nose and landed almost at will.

It got even worse for Rose in the seventh round as Andrade -- who predicted a knockout -- battered him all over the ring, prompting his corner to throw in the towel just as referee Michael Griffin was intervening at 1 minute, 19 seconds.

"I earned my right to be here, but he was better than I thought he would be," Rose said. "He may be one of the best out there in the game. I just couldn't keep up with him and I couldn't keep him off of me."

Andrade, a 2008 U.S. Olympian and 2007 world amateur champion, landed 149 of 452 punches (33 percent) while Rose, whose 11-fight winning streak ended, was limited to landing just 30 of 179 blows (17 percent).

 

 
 
 
 
Demetrius Andrade set to cage Brian "The Lion"í Rose
By Bob Trieger | Published May 7, 2014
 

Undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior middleweight champion Demetrius "Boo Boo" Andrade (20-0, 13 KOs) is preparing for his first title defense, June 14 on HBO against No. 1 mandatory challenger Brian "The Lion" Rose (25-1-1, 7 KOs), like it was just another fight.

The 26-year-old Andrade, fighting out of Providence, captured the vacant WBO 154-pound title last November on HBO, defeating previously unbeaten 2004 U.S. Olympian Vanes "Nightmare" Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KOs) by way of a 12-round decision.

Andrade vs. Rose is the 12-round co-feature on a card presented by the gifted Cape Verdean-American’s co-promoters, Banner Promotions and Star Boxing, along with Top Rank, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The headliner is a 12-round bout between WBO junior welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) and unbeaten challenger Chris Algieri (19-0, 8 KOs).

"I’m preparing for this fight the same way I always have with daily routines that got me here by being smarter and harder," Andrade said from his Atlanta training camp. "I know what to do and what it takes. I’m always in shape and everything else is in place. My motor is running. I’m getting in shape for greatness, staying active in between fights and keeping my weight down. I’m doing what I was born and taught to do. Everything is coming together so I can put on a show fight night."

Andrade has a rich pedigree having been a 2008 U.S. Olympian, 2007 World Championships gold medal winner, and four-time national amateur champion. Before he can get into a mega-fight with the likes of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, possibly even Floyd Mayweather, Jr. before he retires, or a unification fight with Carlos Molina or Erislandy Lara, Andrade must first get past his mandatory challenger from the United Kingdom.

"We’d like to thank HBO for providing Demetrius with this opportunity to show the boxing world that he is ready to take over the 154 and 160-pound divisions," Andrade’s manager Ed Farris commented. "Sooner or later one of the big-name fighters is going to have to face Demetrius and then everybody in boxing will know Demetrius Andrade is for real. We’re honored that HBO has stepped up and given us this chance.

"I still don’t think most people realize what Demetrius did to Vanes Martirosyan. He virtually shut-down a fighter that hadn’t lost in 10 years with a 33-0-1 record. Martirosyan had beaten Erislandy Lara for five straight rounds before Lara started to figure him out. Martirosyan would beat the hell out of Timothy Bradley or Austin Trout, just like he did in the amateurs, yet Demetrius received very little credit for easily beating Martirosyan. Sooner or later the cream rises to the top and believe me Demetrius will rise. I’m confident that he will become one of the greatest fighters in the history of this sport."

Rose has defeated former world champions Vivian Harris and Joachim Alcine but the light hitting Brit hasn’t been in with a pure boxing technician like Andrade, an athletic southpaw with tremendous speed and quickness combined with his deceptive power.

"I’ve seen clips of Rose," Andrade concluded. "He’s a straight-up boxer. I won’t know too much more until I get in the ring with him. I do know I’m not going 12 rounds with this guy."

Follow Demetrius Andrade on Twitter @BooBooBoxing.

 

 
 
With Entertainment & Justice for all
February 26, 2013 3:00 AM by Mark Mayer
 

Provided all the resorts are on the same page as far as upgrading and building sports facilities in Las Vegas, the man standing to gain more perhaps than anyone else is Daren Libonati.

“We have a better chance of seeing an 18,000 to 20,000 seat arena here than seeing a big stadium,” said Libonati, who recently held an open house for his company JEG (Justice Entertainment Group). “There is a need for other properties that understand its goals of entertainment to make it happen.”

Libonati had a hand in the building of both the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion at UNLV along with the MGM Grand Garden Arena, now some 25 years old. So having a history in both venues, Libonati feels his company has a real good understanding of the software world in ticketing and how to bring big time events to Las Vegas.

“JEG is a well rounded company,” he said. “We’re growing four touring artists. We book shows where it makes sense. We started UNLV Tickets and we have a boxing license. Our company works with properties in Laughlin and with promoters like Bob Arum.”

Libonati eventually resigned after 10 years as executive director at Thomas & Mack in order to start his own company, having established more than enough contacts.

“Las Vegas is a wonderful city,” he said. “It’s a big wheel, the hub. The spokes on that wheel are the property owners. We need to upgrade our amenities. You need content to come here beyond what’s being done by the Las Vegas Convention Authority. Casinos like that special events aspect, which is the reason resorts want to keep that on their site.”

One such big event Libonati is working on is an eight-team soccer Champions Cup for August.

“It’s a tournament, not a friendly (exhibition game),” he said. “It would be played in Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami and two eastern cities. In a matter of eight days we would crown a champion. Our goal is to drive business into Las Vegas.”

JEG is a two-way door, bringing big time entertainment into Las Vegas while promoting its stars around the country.

“We have relationships everywhere,” Libonati said. “Next year will be exciting. It will be exciting to see our four and the kind of legs they have.”

Topping the list is boxer Demetrius Andrade, No. 1 WBO contender at 154 pounds. Andrade fought on Showtime several weeks ago in New York and plans are in the works for a world title shot in June on HBO or Showtime.

The other three are rising singers – Ruby Summer (sisters), Beau Cassidy (David Cassidy’s son) and Lovesick Radio (a rock band).

“They are all finishing their albums right now,” Libonati said. “We’re very excited about their careers and expect big things both this year and in 2014.”

In the meantime, Libonati is enjoying his huge office setup in the Howard Hughes Center on Grier Drive across from McCarran airport, which requires two suites to store all the company and personal sports and entertainment memorabilia.

“We have been in this complex for about a year and a half, but this really is our open house,” Libonati said. “It’s our chance to invite the media just to say this is who we are.”

The Libonati Log

• Sought work with Top Rank and Bob Arum at their Paradise Road office. Was told they weren’t hiring. The same day hired to intern at Thomas & Mack Center.

• Brokered T&M’s first-ever fight – George Foreman vs. Alex Stewart. Has done more than 100 championship fights since, most at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

• Coordinated the contract for a Grateful Dead concert in the early 1990s at Sam Boyd Stadium.

• Helped launch Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus. Brought in events there such as MMA Pride Fighting and the NBA Summer League.

• Currently managing three singing artists and a boxer. Organized Real Madrid international soccer matches for Sam Boyd Stadium, including a future Champions Cup project slated for August.

Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at MarkMayer@GamingToday.com.

 

Judy Thorburn's Vegas Happening

Published on 14 February 2013 Written by Judy Thorburn
 
Judy Thorburn's Vegas Happening Additional recent and upcoming “happenings” in and around Las Vegas include:

On Friday afternoon, February 15, I attended a special open house at JUSTICE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, one of the leaders of entertainment in Las Vegas. JEG expanded to Las Vegas two years ago, bringing aboard Thomas & Mack Center and Sam Boyd Stadium Director, Daren Libonati, as its President and COO.

JEG is a full service entertainment, sporting and event company specializing in successfully producing, promoting and providing event content for arenas, stadiums, theaters, nightclubs, casinos, hotels and television and motion pictures. On hand to welcome guests and given a tour of the office were executives: Chairman and CEO Susan Joseph, President, Libonati, Vice Chairman, Jeff Flach, and Executive Vice President, Jason Finfrock. Famed concert promoter Dick Klotzman, Joseph’s “significant other” who occupies an office as a consultant with JEG, was also present. Klotzman was responsible for promoting the first Beatles concert in February 1964 at the Washington Coliseum.

Together, the powerhouse team boasts more than 200 years of experience and are behind some of the most successful events in the city, including last year’s international soccer event Real Madrid vs Santos Laguna and Batman Live, just to name a few.

Located off of Sunset Road near McCarrran Airport, the facility's walls are covered with Gold Records, posters and countless memorabilia from every aspect of the entertainment industry and the celebrity clients the principles have worked with throughout the years including such superstars as Elvis, Michael Jackson and Madonna. In addition, the entire headquarters is filled with a massive amount of treasures collected by Susan Joseph, a 33 year veteran of the music and entertainment industry. “Everything on the walls are “memories” of the people we've booked, managed and promoted”, Susan told me.

 
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn
 
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn
 
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn
 
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn
 
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn
 

From what I gathered, JEG will be adding countless more memories as they continue to make a mark on the Las Vegas entertainment scene.

 

 
 
ANDRADE READY FOR TITLE SHOT AFTER HERNANDEZ VICTORY
 

PHILADELPHIA (January 30, 2013)--World ranked Jr. Middleweight Demetrius Andrade is now eying a world title opportunity after his impressive performance this past Friday night as he scored a shutout unanimous decision over former world title challenger Freddy Hernandez on SHOBOX: The New Generation.

The bout was held at the Paramount Theatre and Andrade’s promoters, Arthur Pelullo’s Banner Promotions, Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing & JEG Boxing are now looking to make a title fight for Andrade a reality. In the bout against Hernandez, Andrade was nearly flawless as he switched between orthodox and southpaw and Hernandez had no answer for any of the great skills that Andrade possessed. In round six, Andrade pivoted beautifully and landed a hard right to the top of the head that sent Hernandez to the canvas. From that point on, Andrade showed the impressive arsenal that made him go from 2007 world amateur champion, 2008 U.S. Olympian and now top three world ranked contender. Andrade won by shutout scores of 100-89 on all three judges score cards. “That was the kind of performance that any fighter would want to have just before a title shot”, said Arthur Pelullo, CEO of Banner Promotions. “Demetrius is clearly clicking on all cylinders now. He’s twenty-four years old and now is putting everything together at the right time. He has always been one of the most skilled fighters out there and all he needed was the experience. My partners Joe DeGuardia, Darren Libonati and I have him in
position for a title shot. We will hope to fight the WBO champion Zaurbek Baysangurov this spring and we are already putting the wheels in motion for that shot”.

With the win, the native of Providence, Rhode Island upped his perfect mark to 19-0 with 13 knockouts.

 

 
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEXICO’S PRIMERA DIVISION CHAMPION SANTOS LAGUNA TO REPLACE JUVENTUS FC IN THE 2012 HERBALIFE WORLD FOOTBALL CHALLENGE AT SAM BOYD STADIUM ON AUGUST 5

LAS VEGAS (June 22, 2012) – Justice Entertainment Group (JEG), Major League Soccer (MLS) and CAA Sports today announced that Mexico’s Primera Division champion Santos Laguna will take on La Liga Champion Real Madrid in Las Vegas on August 5 as part of the 2012 Herbalife World Football Challenge. MGM Resorts International is the title sponsor with Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino acting as the host hotel for the event.

"We are thrilled to have the best of Mexico taking on the best of Spain. It’s a title bout fit for the big stage of Las Vegas,” said Daren Libonati, president & COO of JEG. “With both teams coming off championship seasons as well as success in various club competitions, Santos Laguna and Real Madrid are two of the world’s hottest teams so fans will being seeing soccer at its highest level.”

Due to its participation in the upcoming 2012 Italian Super Cup in Beijing on August 11, an official Serie A league match, Juventus FC had to withdrawal from the match.

Real Madrid, one of the most decorated teams in the history of soccer, clinched the 2012 La Liga title in May, the latest accolade in the club's storied history, which includes a record nine UEFA Champions League trophies. In 2000, the team was voted the most successful club of the 20th century by FIFA, the international governing body of soccer.

Santos Laguna is the current champion of Mexico’s Primera Division and over the past decade has become one of Mexico’s most successful teams. The Guerreros (Warriors), as they are also known, have obtained four league championships (1996, 2001, 2008, and 2012) and have played in four of the last five championship finals. Owned by beer conglomerate Grupo Modelo, Santos Laguna opened a new home in 2009 called Territorio Santos Modelo. The state-of-the-art complex has become a leading destination for sports and entertainment events and cultural, educational, and social exhibitions in Latin America. Santos Laguna was the home of Mexican legend and all-time leading goal scorer for the Mexican National Team Jared Borgetti. Under the direction of former international player Benjamin Galindo, Santos Laguna is led by captain and goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez, Juan Pablo “Chato” Rodriguez, Spanish player Marc Crosas, American striker Herculez Gomez and recently signed Gerardo Lugo.

One of the largest and most successful soccer exhibitions ever staged in North America, the Herbalife World Football Challenge brings together many of the world’s most accomplished and celebrated soccer clubs to play in major sports venues across the region. The event gives soccer fans the unique opportunity to see global superstars play live and experience first-hand the fast-paced, skillful competition that has made soccer the most popular sport in the world. Now in its third year, the Herbalife World Football Challenge is hosted in partnership by CAA Sports, a division of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency, and Major League Soccer (MLS), the top-flight professional soccer league in the U.S. and Canada. More than half a million fans attended the event last year and sports fans across North America will once again enjoy a summer of top international matches in 2012.

Tickets are available at UNLVtickets.com or by calling toll free 855.2LV.KICK/ 855.258.5425 (out of state) or 702.739.3267 (local). Ticket prices are $68, $88, $128, $178 & $253.   Additional fees may apply. Fans who already purchased tickets to the Las Vegas match can use the existing ticket for the new matchup or receive a ticket refund until June 26 by returning to the location where the ticket was purchased.

About Justice Entertainment Group
Justice Entertainment Group, Inc. (JEG) is a full service Entertainment, Sports and Event company that specializes in producing, promoting and providing Entertainment and Sporting Event content for Arenas, Stadiums, Theaters, Night Clubs, Television and Motion Pictures. In addition, JEG promotes and produces concerts festivals, sporting events, as well as creating individual content for private or commercial partners and properties. Our strategic alliances allow us to provide heavy media exposure, ultimate marketing, unique platforms and cutting edge technology and tools to give our clients and events the ultimate opportunity for success. More information can be found at www.justiceentertainmentgroup.com.

About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS features many stars from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. Major League Soccer’s 17th season will feature 19 clubs. Those clubs include Chicago Fire; Chivas USA; Colorado Rapids; Columbus Crew; D.C. United; FC Dallas; Houston Dynamo; 2011 MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy; New York Red Bulls; New England Revolution; Philadelphia Union; Portland Timbers; Real Salt Lake; San Jose Earthquakes; Seattle Sounders FC; Sporting Kansas City; Toronto FC; Vancouver Whitecaps FC; and, in their inaugural season, Montreal Impact. For more information about MLS, log on to the League’s official website at www.MLSsoccer.com.

About CAA Sports
CAA Sports represents more than 700 of the world's best athletes in such sports as baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, tennis, and golf, in addition to coaches, on-air broadcasters, and sports personalities. Beyond traditional athlete representation, CAA Sports provides unique opportunities for clients off the field, in areas including licensing, endorsements, speaking, philanthropy, and video games. CAA Sports also works in the areas of broadcast rights, corporate marketing initiatives, and sports properties for sales/sponsorships. CAA Sports is a division of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the world’s leading full-service agency. CAA represents the most creative and successful artists working in film, television, music, theatre, and video games, and provides a range of strategic marketing services to corporate clients. For more information about CAA Sports, visit www.sports.caa.com.

# # #

PR CONTACT:
Justice Entertainment Group
Langdon Flynn Communications 702-889-2705
Steve Flynn steve@langdonflynn.com
Ceatta Bogataj ceatta@langdonflynn.com

 

 
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2012 WORLD FOOTBALL CHALLENGE IS COMING TO LAS VEGAS!

Largest Soccer Event in Las Vegas History to Feature World-Class Opponents Real Madrid and Juventus FC

LAS VEGAS (May 8, 2012) - Justice Entertainment Group (JEG) today announced that La Liga Champion Real Madrid and Italian Powerhouse Juventus FC will face-off on Sunday, August 5 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas as part of the 2012 World Football Challenge

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring this world-class event to the Las Vegas market,” said JEG President and COO Daren Libonati.  “This is going to be an exciting event for Las Vegas. Soccer is the world's sport and Las Vegas is the world's playground.  As the President and COO of Justice Entertainment Group we couldn't be more pleased to enter the world of soccer with this match up.  This event will allow Las Vegas to see football at its highest level and embrace the world’s fanfare in our great city.” 

“Las Vegas has been pursuing a soccer game of this magnitude for more than 25 years," said Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events. "We sincerely appreciate the efforts of Justice Entertainment Group for putting together a match of this caliber. We look forward to continuing this partnership and developing international soccer in Las Vegas.”
Real Madrid, one of the most decorated teams in the history of soccer, clinched the La Liga title last week, the latest accolade in the club’s storied history, which includes a record nine UEFA Champions League trophies.  In 2000, the team was voted the most successful club of the 20th century by FIFA, the international governing body of soccer.

Winners of 53 official titles, Juventus FC is the oldest and most successful club in Italy, as well as one of the most prestigious clubs in the sport.  The club, nicknamed “Juve,” has claimed 29 league titles, nine Italian Cups, four Italian super cups, nine European cups and two intercontinental cups.  Juventus FC recently claimed the 2011-2012 Italian Serie A Championship, solidifying themselves as one of the world’s premiere teams.

“Our Company, JEG, has been working on this for two full years, I couldn’t be happier to see it all come together for our team and the city,” said JEG Chairman and CEO Susan Joseph. 

“We anticipate tickets to move quickly as we have one of the smaller, more intimate venues, and two of the greatest teams on the tour,” said JEG’s Executive Vice President Jason Finfrock.

One of the largest and most successful soccer exhibitions ever staged in North America, the World Football Challenge brings together many of the world’s most accomplished and celebrated soccer clubs to play in major sports venues across the region.  The event gives soccer fans the unique opportunity to see global superstars play live and experience first-hand the fast-paced, skillful competition that has made soccer the most popular sport in the world.  Now in its third year, the World Football Challenge is hosted in partnership by CAA Sports, a division of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency, and Major League Soccer (MLS), the top-flight professional soccer league in the U.S. and Canada.  More than half a million fans attended the event last year and sports fans across North America will once again enjoy a summer of top international matches in 2012. 

Tickets go on sale Thursday, May 10 at 10:00 a.m. at UNLVtickets.com or by calling toll free 855.2LV.KICK/ 855.258.5425 (out of state) or 702.739.3267 (local).

About Justice Entertainment Group
Justice Entertainment Group, Inc. (JEG) is a full service Entertainment, Sports and Event company that specializes in producing, promoting and providing Entertainment and Sporting Event content for Arenas, Stadiums, Theaters, Night Clubs, Television and Motion Pictures. In addition, JEG promotes and produces concerts festivals, sporting events, as well as creating individual content for private or commercial partners and properties.  Our strategic alliances allow us to provide heavy media exposure, ultimate marketing, unique platforms and cutting edge technology and tools to give our clients and events the ultimate opportunity for success.  More information can be found at www.justiceentertainmentgroup.com.

# # #

PR CONTACT:
Langdon Flynn Communications 702-889-2705
Steve Flynn steve@langdonflynn.com
Ceatta Bogataj ceatta@langdonflynn.com

 

 
 
LIBONATI THROWS HAT IN RING, JOINS PROMOTER PELULLO Tools
 

By Steve Carp
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Posted: Mar. 18, 2012 | 2:01 a.m.

Daren Libonati has a longtime love of boxing, going back to his days as a football player at UNLV when he befriended pro fighter Greg Haugen in 1987.

Libonati's Justice Entertainment Group is branching into the fight promotion, teaming with Art Pelullo of Banner Promotions to form JEG Boxing.

"I don't see us as competition for Top Rank and Golden Boy," said Libonati, who worked with both boxing powers when he was the director of the Thomas & Mack Center. "I see what we're doing as a way to complement what they do. We're not looking for a big piece of the pie, just a sliver. We're not going to be a threat to what they do."

Libonati has applied for a promoter's license in Nevada and hopes to put on his first card in Las Vegas this fall. But he said JEG Boxing won't be strictly local.

"We plan to do shows all over the country," he said. "My contacts with arena operators will give us a chance to bring quality boxing cards to their cities. There are a lot of arenas that are looking for content."

Libonati said he has had discussions with Indian casinos in California and Arizona about bringing cards to those properties. With Banner's stable of fighters, led by junior middleweights Demetrius Andrade and Sergy Dzinziruk and WBO middleweight champ Dmitry Pirog, Libonati believes JEG Boxing will be able to stage quality cards.

"There's a lot of good fighters who are flying under the radar and just need some exposure," he said. "We want to sign and promote these guys."

MAGDALENO'S NEW OPPONENT -- Las Vegas super featherweight Diego Magdaleno will defend his NABF title against a new opponent Friday at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Ariz.

Eduardo Lazcano (24-2, 11 knockouts) replaces Miguel Beltran in the main event against Magdaleno (21-0, seven KOs), which will be televised on Showtime (Cox 240). Beltran has not been medically cleared to fight after sustaining a cut above his left eye in December.

STILL WAITING -- For now, the planned rematch between Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto is scheduled for June 30 in Las Vegas, but Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said the plan is to move the fight to June 23 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

"We hope to have that finalized by next week," he said. "I've been working on the move because there's simply too many fights in Las Vegas, and you can't expect the hotel's high rollers to come to every fight."

With Floyd Mayweather Jr. fighting Miguel Cotto on May 5 at the MGM Grand Garden, Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson squaring off May 19 at Mandalay Bay, and Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley meeting June 9 at the Grand Garden, the schedule simply became too crowded for Ortiz-Berto II.

"Feb. 11 was perfect," Schaefer said of the original date, which was postponed after Berto hurt his arm two weeks before the fight. "But with all these other fights, it doesn't make sense financially to stay in Las Vegas."

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

 

 
 
HOLY SPECTACLES, BATMAN! SHOW BRINGS GOTHAM CITY TO THOMAS & MAC
 
 

By John Katsilometes

Saturday, March 17, 2012 | 1:07 p.m.

Las Vegas has thrown the switch on the Bat Signal.

A stage version of how the Caped Crusader joined forces with Robin (aka The Boy Wonder) is heading to the Thomas & Mack Center in the dizzying spectacle "Batman Live."

The show is set for the Thomas & Mack Center from Oct. 3-7. Tickets start at $29.50 and are on sale Friday at the UNLV Box Office, by calling 702-739-3267 (FANS) or at UNLVTickets.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the concierge station at Town Square. Show dates and times are Oct. 3, 4, and 5 at 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 6 at noon, 4, and 8 p.m.; and Oct. 7 at 1 and 5 p.m.

The show is a fully authorized production from Warner Brothers Consumer Products, DC Entertainment, and Nick Grace of Water Lane Productions, whose credits include the international tour of "Mamma Mia!" and the touring production, "Walking With Dinosaurs."

The all-ages, arena-scope blowout features a 3D depiction of Gotham City laden with ominous, darkened buildings; a 105-foot, bat-shaped video screen, and an all-new Batmobile designed for the production.

Forty-two acrobats vault around the enormous set. Pyrotechnics and video illusions burst onstage. Along with the show’s central characters - Bruce Wayne as Batman and Dick Grayson as Robin - Alfred Pennyworth (or, Alfred the Butler), The Joker, Catwoman, The Riddler, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and The Penguin appear. The unnerving qualities of Gotham City are well represented, as are Wayne Manor, the Batcave and Arkham Asylum.

The man who penned the script for the show says the storyline is a faithful adaptation of the tale of how millionaire Wayne found a kindred spirit in young circus performer Grayson, forging a heroic alliance for the ages.

"He’s been Batman for about a year, and he meets a young circus performer whose parents are gunned down right before his eyes," Allan Heinberg said in a phone interview Friday. "He is forced into being this kid’s guardian, to avenge the kid’s death on his own to make Gotham City a safer place. The story is all about this relationship, learning about themselves, learn that they need to lean on each other, because they cannot do it alone."

Heinberg says such linear storytelling is what sets "Batman Live" apart from productions from Las Vegas’ predominant performance company - and you had to feel this comparison coming - Cirque du Soleil.

"Cirque is notoriously nonlinear and non-narrative," says Heinberg, who has been a writer and producer on TV series like "The Naked Truth," "Party of Five," "Sex and the City," "Gilmore Girls, "The O.C.," and "Grey’s Anatomy." He has spent the past seven years writing comics, including "Young Avengers" for Marvel Comics. He says "Batman Live" is distinctive even for those who have seen all variety of production shows in Las Vegas, including those staged by Cirque.

"What Cirque brings is its spectacle and magic, and we have aimed to have that degree of spectacle and magic," Heinberg said. "But ours is a very linear and very narrative drama. It’s much more like a traditional play, story-wise, I don’t know the comparisons with Cirque would be that immediate."

Heinberg calls the experience of writing for this level of production "extraordinary."

"It has been extraordinary to try to create something that’s very faithful to the source material, but has not been done in live-action form, onstage, before," he said. "In the process of translating it to the stage, we felt we were inventing a new kind of performance art. It’s not quite theater, not quite circus. It has all the spectacle of a rock show and a musical, but it’s not sung. It’s really its own unique, theatrical form, an arena spectacular.

"It’s narrative, emotional arc of a play, but it is larger than life on every level."

Everything about the production is outsized. The load-in convoy is 20 tractor-trailers. The crew needs two days to assemble the stage. It took 100 hours just to sculpt the body for Batman’s costume, and there are more than 490 costume elements onstage.

The soundscape, which Heinberg says he listens to often just for pleasure, was recorded by a 92-piece orchestra under the direction of English composer James Seymour Brett. In collaboration with acclaimed composer Michael Kamen, Brett also co-wrote the music for the epic Steven Spielberg miniseries, "Band of Brothers" and the film "X-Men," among other major projects.

More than half a million people have seen "Batman Live" worldwide dating to 2010. Reviews have been laudatory. A sampling from the London Daily Telegraph calls the show, "A live-action drama stuffed with dazzling special effects, retina-popping visuals and improbable feats of highwire derring-do, choreographed within a Catwoman’s whisker of perfection."

Righteous.

"Batman Live" touches down in North America for the first time on Sept. 4 for a series of shows at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

"I’ve honestly never seen anything I’ve never seen anything like this onstage before, I really haven’t," says Heinberg, a longtime Batman fan whose favorite variation of the story is the old cartoon series. "People think this is like ‘Disney On Ice’ or something pantomimed, but it is far more than that. It’s about two men who do extraordinary, superhuman things, and we’re watching them do these things right in front of us. It is more than circus, more than a play.

"The scope and scale is more than you would expect to see even in an arena, a truly full-sensory, engaging production."

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 21, 2011     

***MEDIA ALERT***MEDIA ALERT***MEDIA ALERT***

PRESS CONFERENCE SCHEDULED FOR LAS VEGAS SUPERSTAR CHALLENGE

 
   

WHAT:

Las Vegas Superstar Challenge brings the basketball elite together for an all-star challenge of world-class basketball talent.

Justice Entertainment Group presents a weekend of professional basketball superstars, including team captain Allen Iverson.

Iverson reached out to Justice Entertainment Group with an opportunity to host a professional basketball tournament in Las Vegas. The tournament includes four teams, and team captains have been asked to recruit other professional players to add to their individual teams. Teams will play each other in a two game preliminary round on Saturday, November 12. The winner of each game will then battle for the Las Vegas Superstar Challenge championship title on Sunday, November 13

A press conference is being held to announce the event, and Allen Iverson will be announcing additional captains and players of each team. He will be available for interviews during the press conference.

 

 

WHEN:

Wednesday, October 26
Starting at 2:00 PM PST

 

 

WHERE:

Thomas and Mack Center (Redd Room)
4505 S Maryland Parkway,
Las Vegas, NV 89154

Tickets start at $25, and can be purchased through www.UNLVtickets.com  or by calling 739-FANS immediately following the press conference.

 

 

MEDIA:

Photo and interview opportunities are available.  Please e-mail ceatta@langdonflynn.com to schedule.

 

 

CONTACT:

Ceatta Bogataj
Langdon Flynn Communications
702.889.2705
ceatta@langdonflynn.com

 

 

LIBONATI STILL BUZZING FROM OLD TRAFFORD VISIT
By Ron Kantowski
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Posted: Aug. 30, 2011 | 2:00 a.m.

It is one of sports' grand cathedrals, this place on Sir Matt Busby Way in the Trafford borough of Manchester, England, they call Old Trafford.

To be considered a grand cathedral of sport, a stadium or a ballpark or even a speedway should have another name, a familiar moniker, by which it can be identified.

Yankee Stadium is "The House That Ruth Built." Indianapolis Motor Speedway is "The Brickyard." Old Trafford is "The Theatre of Dreams," so called by Bobby Charlton, the European Footballer of the Year in 1966, the year England won the World Cup.

Las Vegas promoter Daren Libonati, left, poses with soccer great Pele prior to a friendly match this month at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. Libonati sat behind the goal in a packed house of 75,000 fans.
 

Venerable Old Trafford has a seating capacity of 75,957, second only to cavernous Wembley Stadium in London among British soccer palaces. It has been the home of vaunted Manchester United since 1910, with the exception of the years 1941 through 1949, when it was closed for repairs after Adolf Hitler bombed the bloody hell out of it.

But not even the might of the German Luftwaffe could bring down Old Trafford.

That's part of the reason Daren Libonati wanted to see it for himself.

Libonati is president of Justice Entertainment Group, a Las Vegas sports and concert promoter. Before that, he ran the Thomas & Mack Center and Sam Boyd Stadium. Before that, he was a pretty good place-kicker for the UNLV football team. And before that, he played youth soccer.

Libonati couldn't keep his corner kicks down, couldn't bend them like Beckham. That's what led him to become a field-goal kicker.

This month Libonati traveled to the Trafford borough of Manchester to watch Man-U play the reincarnation of the old New York Cosmos in a "friendly" match, a testimonial for Paul Scholes, the 36-year-old United midfield stalwart who retired at the end of last season.

Scholes scored the game's first goal -- "a trademark fizzing drive" is how The Daily Telegraph described it -- and United went on to a 6-0 victory over a Cosmos side that included Fabio Canovero of Italy, Gary Neville of England and Patrick Viera of France; like Scholes, they're former world-class players who have reached the age of semi-retirement. The old Cosmos of the 1970s who regularly sold out the old Meadowlands stadium were built in similar fashion; the great Pele played for the old Cosmos.

Libonati met with Pele before the game at Old Trafford. Pele is honorary president of the new Cosmos; Eric Cantona, a legend among legends at Old Trafford, is the Cosmos' director of soccer. This mostly means Pele and Cantona will be available for interviews in halting English when Libonati announces the "Vegas Winter Kick," set for Feb. 25 at Sam Boyd Stadium, during which the new Cosmos will probably face a Spanish-speaking international side of some repute.

A full house of 75,000 turned out to bid Scholes a fond farewell and ogle his gorgeous wife during ceremonies on the pitch, because all European soccer stars, even the semi-retired ones, have gorgeous wives. Most in the crowd were wearing United's familiar red soccer "kit" -- kit being the British word for soccer attire.

One guy seated in the East Stand, behind the goal, wore a business suit. He stood out in the manner of a Bud Light at a Guinness convention.

"I was asked three times, 'Why aren't you wearing your new kit?' " Libonati said.

Libonati could have watched the game with Pele in the suites, but he wanted to be among the Old Trafford masses when they sang "United Road (Take Me Home)" to the tune of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads." He wanted to feel their passion for this game, for this "Beautiful Game" as Pele dubbed soccer.

When they rose in unison for a United goal, Libonati wanted to rise along with them. He wanted to hear that roar, to feel it shoot down his spine, bending this way and that, like one of David Beckham's corner kicks before he left United to finish out his career with the L.A. Galaxy.

"Watching it live is a whole 'nother experience than watching it on TV," Libonati said after the hair on the back of his neck had laid back down.

"If I could describe the moment where Eric Cantona walked off the pitch, and 10 steps before he gets to the tunnel, he raises his hand, and the roar was so loud it was deafening ... not only would your hair stand up, it would fall out. It was like no game I've ever been, and I've been to them all." 

But if he ever gets back to this place they call Old Trafford, this Theatre of Dreams, this majestic cathedral of European soccer in the Trafford borough of Manchester, England, Libonati said he will learn the words to "United Road" so the hooligans won't have to ask again why he's not singing.

Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

VEGAS WINTER KICK ANNOUNCED

Largest soccer event in Las Vegas history to feature New York Cosmos

LAS VEGAS- Justice Entertainment Group is proud to announce that the inaugural “Vegas Winter Kick” will take place at San Boyd Stadium on February 25, 2012 and will feature the New York Cosmos as one of the participants.  Justice Entertainment Group President and COO Daren Libonati made the historic announcement at a press conference Wednesday in Manchester, England.  Libonati was joined at the press conference by New York Cosmos Honorary President Pele and Cosmos Director of Soccer Eric Cantona.

“The Vegas Winter Kick is going to be an exciting event for Las Vegas,” said Libonati.  “Our city has played host to several World Class events.  Soccer is the world's sport and Las Vegas is the world's playground.  As the President and COO of Justice Entertainment Group we couldn't be more pleased to have entered the world of soccer with our partners, the New York Cosmos, and to bring the Vegas Winter Kick to our great city.”

The Vegas Winter Kick will be a two week event that will feature many exciting and entertaining events involving soccer and soccer instruction that will take place in a festival-like atmosphere in and around Sam Boyd Stadium.  The soccer fortnight will culminate with the match between the New York Cosmos and an opponent to be still be announced.

“I look forward to returning home and working together with our city and hotel properties to create a one of kind experience,” Libonati enthused.  “This will be a truly unique and worldwide experience.  I have been so fortunate to have represented and booked wonderful facilities at home.  Today Justice Entertainment Group  will play the promoter in bringing this wonderful event to Las Vegas.”

On sale announcements for tickets will be forthcoming soon.  In the meantime fans can log on to www.vegaswinterkick.com and follow them on Twitter @VegasWinterKick for more information and updates.

About Justice Entertainment Group
Justice Entertainment Group, Inc. (JEG) is a full service Entertainment, Sports and Event company that specializes in producing, promoting and providing Entertainment and Sporting Event content for Arenas, Stadiums, Theaters, Night Clubs, Television and Motion Pictures. In addition, JEG promotes and produces concerts festivals, sporting events, as well as creating individual content for private or commercial partners and properties.  Our strategic alliances allow us to provide heavy media exposure, ultimate marketing, unique platforms and cutting edge technology and tools to give our clients and events the ultimate opportunity for success.  More information can be found at www.justiceentertainmentgroup.com.  

PR CONTACT:
Langdon Flynn Communications 702-889-2705
Steve Flynn steve@langdonflynn.com
Ceatta Bogataj ceatta@langdonflynn.com

 

 
 

COSMOS PUT FAMOUS NAME BEHIND VEGAS WINTER KICK
By Steve Carp
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Posted: Aug. 5, 2011 | 2:00 a.m.

The Cosmos are coming to Las Vegas.

Not the famed 1970s New York Cosmos of Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia and Franz Beckenbauer Cosmos. Not even the Cosmos of Randy Horton, Shep Messing and Werner Roth.

No, these Cosmos will be a collection of young players intermingled with former World Cup stars under the brand of the former North American Soccer League franchise.

The Cosmos will participate in the inaugural "Vegas Winter Kick" on Feb. 25 at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Cosmos' roster and opponent will be announced in October.

 

Daren Libonati, president of Las Vegas-based Justice Entertainment Group, announced the game Thursday from Manchester, England, where the latest incarnation of the Cosmos will play Manchester United today at Old Trafford, Man-U's home stadium.

"The Cosmos have been an international name in soccer, and we're bringing that back," Libonati said. "Soccer is the world's sport, and Las Vegas is the world's playground."

Libonati also is working to bring one or more Major League Soccer teams to Las Vegas in February to train and possibly scrimmage as part of the two-week Winter Kick promotion. But the Feb. 25 match will be the main draw, and Libonati said he's lining up a First Division club team from Mexico, South America or Europe to face the Cosmos.

"All I can tell you is it will be a quality team that is recognized worldwide," Libonati said.

Pele, who tried to give the old NASL a boost when he agreed to join the Cosmos in 1975, is honorary president of the current Cosmos venture. Along with former Manchester United star Eric Cantona, the Cosmos' director of soccer, Pele is working with Libonati on the Vegas Winter Kick venture.

"Pele plans to be in Las Vegas for the October announcement and for the Winter Kick in February," Libonati said.

Libonati said there is a three-year commitment for the Vegas Winter Kick, which he said gives him enough time to try to secure the biggest clubs in soccer for 2013 and 2014.

"We'd love to bring Manchester United or Real Madrid to Las Vegas," he said. "That would be the ultimate."

The Cosmos' friendly against Manchester United is a testimonial match to honor Paul Scholes, who played 17 years for the Red Devils. The Cosmos' roster includes Manchester City's Wayne Bridge and Patrick Vieira, retired Manchester United veteran Gary Neville, retired 2006 World Cup star Fabio Cannavaro and Tottenham Hotspur's Brad Friedel. Libonati said he wasn't sure if any of the players on today's Cosmos roster would participate in Las Vegas.

The real Cosmos did play in Las Vegas once, in 1977. Pele, Chinaglia, Beckenbauer and the Cosmos were beaten 1-0 by the NASL's Las Vegas Quicksilvers in front of 11,896 at Sam Boyd Stadium, then known as the Silver Bowl. The Quicksilvers lasted one year in Las Vegas before relocating to San Diego.

 

 

TUFF-N-UFF NAMES HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE IN HONOR OF MMA LEGEND RANDY COUTURE

LAS VEGAS – The TUFF-N-UFF organization in conjunction with Justice Entertainment Group (JEG) is proud to announce they will honor MMA legend Randy Couture at their upcoming TUFF-N-UFF: The Future Stars of MMA event by naming the heavyweight championship title after him. The heavyweight belt holder will be further known as “The Randy Couture TUFF-N-UFF Heavyweight Champion.” A championship belt with Couture’s name will also be made in his honor. This event will take place Friday, July 1, 2011 at 7 p.m. at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas.

“It is an honor to have one of the belts named after me,” Randy Couture said. “My son and other amateur fighters have gone through and developed their skills in the TUFF-N-UFF amateur series with their aspirations to become professionals similar to myself.”

“We believe at JEG and with TUFF-N-UFF as our partner, there couldn’t be a better person to honor than Randy Couture,” Daren Libonati, JEG President and COO said.  “His accomplishments in and out of the cage have inspired so many peers and young MMA hopefuls to fulfill their passion of becoming a champion.”

Fighting for the first Randy Couture TUFF-N-UFF heavyweight championship belt will be Brandon Browning 6’/265lbs. (1-1-0) from Team Tompkins taking on Carl Posma 5’11”/280lbs. from Team One Kick Nick. For more information on the July 1 fight card please go to www.tuffnuff.net. All bouts are live and subject to change.

“Randy’s Xtreme Couture products and gyms are a great brand, and our business strategies are very similar and complement each other,” Libonati said.  “Randy will continue to grow young MMA stars in his gyms both locally and around the country, just as TUFF-N-UFF will grow the amateur business of MMA live events.  It’s a great tribute and partnership.”

Tickets for TUFF-N-UFF: The Future Stars of MMA at the Cox Pavilion are on sale now and are priced at $23, $28, $38 and $55, not including applicable service charges, and can be purchased by visiting UNLVTickets.com or TUFFNUFF.net or in person at the Thomas & Mack Center box office. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call (702) 739-FANS.

“Randy Couture is not just a legend but he is also one of our favorite fighter of all time so we’re thrilled to be able to honor him and help keep his legacy alive forever,” Barry Meyer, TUFF-N-UFF President said.

About TUFF-N-UFF
TUFF-N-UFF is known internationally as the premier amateur MMA fight league that prepares potential stars to become professional fighters. Some of the most renowned mixed martial artists around the globe have come through TUFF-N-UFF and have become highly recognized.

About Justice Entertainment Group
Justice Entertainment Group (JEG) is a full-service entertainment, sports and event company that specializes in producing and promoting entertainment and sporting events in arenas, stadiums, theaters and nightclubs around the globe. With this new partnership, JEG is now committed to expanding the highly respected TUFF-N-UFF brand worldwide.

About the Cox Pavilion
The $16.8 million state-of-the-art Cox Pavilion is a 78,300 square foot, multi-purpose venue connected to the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus, and serves as the home court for UNLV women's basketball and volleyball teams. The pavilion is a two-level structure. The top level is a multi-purpose venue with a seating capacity of 3,100 and 2,500 for sporting events. In addition to UNLV athletic events, the Cox Pavilion hosts a variety of events, including small concerts, boxing events, theater-style family shows, corporate parties, trade shows and more.

 

 

 

 TENNIS LEGENDS andre agassi, pete sampras,
JIM COURIER AND MICHAEL CHANG TO COMPETE IN
las vegas ON october 15 AS PART OF
2011 Champions Series TENNIS CIRCUIT

Athletes to Compete for $1 Million Prize Pool in One-Night
Shoot-Outs Played in 12 Cities Nationwide This Fall

Tickets Go On Sale to General Public May 9th

 

NEW YORK, (May 3, 2011) -- InsideOut Sports + Entertainment announced today that Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Michael Chang will compete in Las Vegas at the Thomas and Mack Center on October 15 in the CTCA Championships as part of the 2011 Champions Series circuit.  The newly expanded and reformatted Champions Series will begin on September 22 in Fort Lauderdale, FL, taking the highly competitive tennis circuit to a total of 12 U.S. cities over a five week season through October 22.

Tickets and unique interactive VIP fan experiences for the 2011 Champions Series go on sale to the general public at 10am on May 9, 2011 and will start at $ 35.  Tickets are available at UNLV tickets, 739-FANS or UNLVTICKETS.com.

In addition to Agassi, Sampras, Courier and Chang, the five-week tour, produced by legendary impresario Larry Magid, will feature fellow Grand Slam champions John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg and Mats Wilander.  The athletes will compete for a prize pool totaling $1 million to be shared by the top three finishers at the conclusion of the season.  Each of the 12, one-night tournaments will feature four champions paired off in one-set semi-finals competing for ranking points, culminating with the winners contending for the title in an eight-game pro-set championship match. 

“We are thrilled to reunite seven legends who have won an astonishing 52 Grand Slam singles titles among them,” said Jon Venison, Founding Partner of the Champions Series.  “This is the greatest generation of champions ever assembled and an unprecedented opportunity for sports fans around the U.S. to reconnect with them.”

“Competing against my friends and foes in front of fans across the country is going to get my adrenaline pumping” said Jim Courier. “The player line-up and format of the circuit is ideal for me and my peers to quench our competitive thirst while showcasing tennis to many cities that lack pro tennis events. May the best man win.”

“We are thrilled to be working alongside Larry Magid to bring this great event to the Thomas and Mack Center and Las Vegas,” said JEG President and COO Daren Libonati. “Our JEG team has been working for the last 6 months on this opportunity for Las Vegas and it’s a great thrill for everything to finally come to fruition.”

The Champions Series is a tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30, created in 2005 by InsideOut Sports + Entertainment, the New York based firm which is co-owned and operated by former SFX executive Jon Venison and former world No. 1 Jim Courier.

Champions Series Tour Schedule:

September 22 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Bank Atlantic Center – Sampras, McEnroe, Courier, Chang
September 23 – Washington D.C. – Verizon Center – Agassi, Sampras, Courier, Chang
September 24 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center – Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier
September 30 – Minneapolis, MN – Target Center – Agassi, McEnroe, Courier, Chang
October 1 – Boston, MA – TD Garden – Agassi, McEnroe, Courier, Chang
October 8 – Phoenix, AZ – Surprise Stadium – Sampras, Wilander, Courier, Chang
October 13 – Seattle, WA – Key Arena – Sampras, McEnroe, Courier, Chang
October 14 – Los Angeles, CA – Staples Center – Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier
October 15 – Las Vegas, NV – Thomas and Mack Center – Agassi, Sampras, Courier, Chang
October 20 – Chicago, IL – United Center – Agassi, McEnroe, Courier, Borg
October 21 – St. Louis, MO – Chaifetz Arena – McEnroe, Borg, Courier, Chang
October 22 – Buffalo, NY – HSBC Arena – McEnroe, Borg, Courier, Chang

BECOME A FAN OF THE CHAMPIONS SERIES ON FACEBOOK & FOLLOW US ON TWITTER facebook.com/championsseriestennis | twitter.com/cs_tennis

CHAMPIONS SERIES WEBSITE:
http://www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com

ABOUT INSIDEOUT
InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a New York City-based independent producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including "Legendary Night" exhibitions, charity events and corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

ABOUT LARRY MAGID ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
Promoting and producing over 16,000 concerts and live events, Larry Magid is considered one of the architects and contemporary leaders of the live entertainment business. He has spent 49 years in the entertainment business with some highlights including producing Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, the largest grossing non-musical in Broadway's history and receiving a Tony Award and producing the U.S portions of Live Aid and Live 8. 

ABOUT JEG
Justice Entertainment Group, Inc. (JEG) is a full service Entertainment, Sports and Event company that specializes in producing, promoting and providing Entertainment and Sporting Event content for Arenas, Stadiums, Theaters, and Night Clubs. In addition, JEG promotes and produces concerts festivals, sporting events, as well as creating individual content for private or commercial partners and properties.

 

 
 
MMA’s PREMIER AMATEUR PROMOTION, “Tuff-N-Uff: THE FUTURE STARS OF MIXED MARTIAL ARTS,” HAS A NEW PARTNER: JUSTICE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP.

For Immediate Release
4/19/2011

Justice Entertainment Group (JEG) is a full-service entertainment, sports and event company that specializes in producing and promoting entertainment and sporting events in arenas, stadiums, theaters and nightclubs around the globe, as well as creating crowd-pleasing content for television and motion-picture projects. With this new partnership, JEG is now committed to expanding the highly respected Tuff-N-Uff brand worldwide.

JEG will become Tuff-N-Uff's promotional partner for all live events, as well as all future television and Internet broadcasts. The Las Vegas-based Tuff-N-Uff promotion will continue to run the nation’s most-respected amateur MMA fight league on a day-to-day basis, and JEG will assist in the coordination of all aspects of live-event operations, including promotion, production and the monetization of digital media assets.

“Over the years, Tuff-N-Uff has been approached by many companies interested in creating a partnership,” Tuff-N-Uff president Barry Meyer said. “What attracted me to JEG was their experience and history in working with and as fight promoters, along with their extensive knowledge and relationships within the entertainment industry, including venues, casinos, and sponsorship relationships around the country."

“JEG’s vast contacts in the entertainment and sports industry, coupled with a long history of either putting together or partnering with some of the biggest boxing pay-per-view events ever, made it clear that JEG was the right partner for Tuff-N-Uff.”

JEG president and CEO Daren Libonati, who brings more than 23 years of live-event experience to the table and has hosted such prestigious events as PRIDE Fighting Championships, the NBA All-Star Game and a multitude of championship boxing matches, is equally excited about the new partnership.

“JEG believes in the growth potential of Tuff-N-Uff and their unique business model with aspiring amateur fighters,” Libonati said. “We are thrilled to be working with the Tuff-N-Uff promoters Barry and Jeff Meyer. We have watched from afar, waiting for the opportunity to meet these successful brothers. Once we were able to share some of our ideas on how we believe we can grow this product, the smiles began."

“Our principles of business are very simple: Every day we must meet the needs of our partners, and if we do that well, then ours will also be met.”

JEG and Tuff -N-Uff will put on their first event on Friday night May 27, 2011 at the Cox Pavilion.   Tickets will go on sale Friday, April 29, 2011.

For Tickets Log on: unlvtickets.com, tuffnuff.com
Call: 739-FANS | Visit: Town Square Las Vegas, all Station Casinos and Fiestas.

 

Jeff Meyer
Tuff-N-Uff Productions, Inc.
www.tuffnuff.com
jeff@tuffnuff.net
702-482-8833 (p)
888-965-8833 (f)

Jason Finfrock
Justice Entertainment Group
www.justiceeg.com
jason@justiceeg.com
702-413-6801 (p)
702-413-6305 (f)

For Sponsorship and Licensing
Information - Contact

PhoeniciaSport©
Toll Free: +1 (877) 808-5997

 

 

INDUSTRY PROFILE: SUSAN JOSEPH
— By Larry LeBlanc (CelebrityAccess MediaWire)

This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc:
Susan Joseph, chairman/CEO, Justice Entertainment Group.

Brooklyn-native Susan Joseph, chairman and CEO of Justice Entertainment Group (JEG) In Las Vegas, possesses a persuasive personality, but she’s also a take-no-prisoners type, with a firm grasp of the realpolitik of entertainment.

Joseph began her career in 1969 working as a secretary at the International Famous Agency (IFA) in New York following her graduation from Emerson College in Boston.

Two years later, she moved to San Fernando, California to work at Day Five Productions, operated by manager Marcia Day, who was then handling Seals & Croft.

After four years with Day, Joseph struck out on her own as a personal manager. Under her company Twin Trumpets Productions, she made a significant mark overseeing the career of England Dan & John Ford Coley, one of the most popular pop acts of the ‘70s.

As president of Grand Trine Management, Joseph went on to represent Laura Branigan, Diane Warren, Eddie Kendricks, Ronnie Laws, Patrice Rushen, Tower of Power, Bobby Caldwell, and Nell Carter.

JEG is virtually a "one-stop" shop providing professional services to the entertainment and sports Industries. It specializes in personal artist management as well as producing, promoting and providing entertainment and sporting event content for arenas, stadiums, theaters, and clubs.

After a decade of being the executive dir. of the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada, and the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Daren Libonati signed on to become the president/COO of JEG in Aug. 2010. Two months later, he was joined by Jason Finrock who was hired as VP. He had been the associate dir. of marketing and ticketing for the facilities.

JEG currently is the sole exclusive booker of the Thomas & Mack Center and also supervises shows at the other two venues as well.

Management isn’t an easy job.

Management is rough, but, it’s what I do. It’s very hard when your personality leads you into this. I really am a manager. I’m a nurturing person, and I guess that my personality fits into the whole paradigm of what a manager is supposed to be. Still, (what I do), it’s not what other people do as a manager. I’m like an old time manager. I’m very hands on.

What’s the allure of management to you?

The allure is seeing something that I believe in as talent being recognized. That’s very rewarding. It is very rewarding to know that I am looking at somebody or something and somebody else sees it the way that I see it. There’s something very magical about that. It’s something that I love, and I’ve been very lucky that I have been in a situation in my life where I was able to make money at something that I love. It’s rare.

Does it help having your personality? You are both aggressive as well as persuasive. You certainly cut to the chase.

I am definitely that person. Sometimes not everybody can deal with that. But it does help. I am very strong. I’m a person who believes in my own instincts. If I was a wimp or weak, it would never work. And I’m not. I’m very strong, I’m very opinionated, and I trust my own instincts.

Many acts want to hear a potential manager say, “It’s going to be easy to make it.”

They do. I have never dealt with a lot of people like that because I’m a brutally honest person. I say it like it is. I always work with people who are able to take that. If they weren’t able to take it, I wouldn’t be able to deal with them. It doesn’t mean that I’m stupid, but they have to know that if they have no patience…My motto in life is that I’m not in a rush to fail.

Personal management was hard for women in the music business when you were starting out.

It has changed, but I never felt oppressed or abused. I always walked into a record company like I owned the joint. I never felt oppressed because I never allowed that kind of behavior. It was never tough for me because I was as tough as anyone in the room. The major thing in life to be successful--in any business, but certainly in the music business--is to know and to understand people.

Why did you move from Los Angeles to Las Vegas two years ago?

It was by accident. If someone had told me I was moving to Vegas more than two years ago, I would have told them that they were nuts, that they were completely crazy. But somebody called me and my life partner (former Baltimore concert promoter Dick Klotzman) and said that there was a charity here that was in trouble. They were doing a T.I. date, and found out they really didn’t have T.I. (booked). They had been working with someone and really didn’t have the act and really didn’t have the venue, the Thomas & Mac Centre. They pretty much asked us to come and save them.

So we came to Vegas. We called William Morris, and got the act. We went to the Thomas & Mac Centre, and secured the venue. We had a successful show. We ended up having a relationship with T.I., and we did a show with him in Atlanta. And we ended up having a relation with the Thomas & Mac Centre.

You stayed in Las Vegas too.

When we got Las Vegas, we saw this building and decided to take a little office here to have a little base. We loved the building. But for the first five months here, we stayed in hotels because I was not really willing to move from Los Angeles. I had my kids, and my sister is there.

After five months in Las Vegas, I’m saying to my boyfriend, “We need to get a place. I do not want to stay in one more hotel or I’m going to jump off a building. I don’t want to look at another lobby or hear the ‘cling-cling-cling’ of a slot machine. I have to get out of here.” So we did, we got a place. Slowly, and surely, we moved everything here, and it’s been wonderful.

You had had an office in Los Angeles.

I had downsized -- we still had a staff and an office, but, it was small. After Nell Carter died (in 2003), I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay in management. (Her death) was heart-breaking. I was very close to her; and I had to kind of take a breath after that happened. It was really horrible to me. She was young. (Her death) wasn’t a surprise in that she wasn’t healthy, but it was a shock. You don’t really think that someone you really care about is going to die. You just don’t.

[Having previously survived two brain aneurysms, singer/actress Nell Carter died Jan. 23, 2003 at the age of 54 from heart disease complicated by diabetes. She came to stardom by winning a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway musical “Ain't Misbehavin’” as well as an Emmy Award for her reprisal of the role on television. She also starred in the long-running 1980s sitcom “Gimme a Break!”]

So you opted to stay and do business in Las Vegas.

We ended up not just with a relationship with Thomas & Mac Centre, we hired the person that we had developed a relationship with there, Daren Libonati, to be the president (and COO) of the company. He’s a smart guy, and a hard worker. He was someone we really wanted on our team. We didn’t know exactly how that was all going to work because he was the executive director of the Thomas & Mac Centre. Dick and I had decided early on that we were going to bring him in at one point.

As it turned out, we ended up with a contract to be the sole exclusive bookers of the Thomas & Mac. We brought him in, and we brought in Jason Finrock (as VP), who had been the head of marketing and advertising (associate dir. of marketing and ticketing) for Thomas & Mack. It all worked out.

You are basically a one-stop house for entertainment and sports events.

Exactly, correct. That’s what we are trying to accomplish, and so far it’s been really good. Jeff Flach is our vice chairman. He does movies and television. He used to work for Oliver Stone. He was everything from a location manager to a producer. He produced the TV series “Red Shoes Diaries" for Showtime.

The company is developing reality television shows, and TV shows as well?

I have never understood why there was any kind division between movies, television, and music. Why there wasn’t more of a co-operative effort between all (of the entertainment businesses). It just made sense to me that it should be. I think that there is now a recognition of people saying to themselves, “It’s stupid for us not to get together, and see how we can co-operate, especially given the problems in the music business.

Times were good in the music business in the past, and the music industry didn’t have to look outside.

No, not at all. Yes, exactly right. Now, it has to and, hopefully, people are clever enough, and they are beginning to understand, that they have to look outward. But it’s amazing to me that people still don’t 100% recognize how much everything has changed; and how much we have to do to compensate for the lack of a real record business anymore.

You are trying to be a one-stop house.

We are in every business that is entertainment-related. Everything from boxing to rugby to the rodeo to the circus to “Disney On Ice” to motocross. Everything you can think of. We do all of these events at the Thomas & Mack Center, or Sam Boyd Stadium.

Being a promoter is different a side of the business for you.

No. Not at all. But I don’t even purport to know that side of the business. That’s why I have Daren, and that’s why our consultant is my life partner, Dick Klotzman, who has done over 25,000 shows (in his career).

You are still managing talent as well.

I do what I have always done. I manage people. Right now, I’m managing a group from Las Vegas, the Fulcos. They come from a musical family. The girl Joei is 14, her bother Jesse is 12. Joei writes and plays electric and acoustic guitar, piano and sings. Jesse has been playing bass since he was five. They have played with Big Time Rush, H*Wood, the Spinners and Charice. I’ve been managing them for two years, just developing them.

How does it feel being based in Las Vegas?

It’s wonderful. What I found out about Vegas, which is amazing to me, is that while this is “the centre of entertainment” and all of that, there aren’t a lot of people here that have vast entertainment experience other than showrooms. They don’t really have a broad spectrum of experience here. It is remarkable to me because you would think that they would.

Is there an entertainment infrastructure in Las Vegas unconnected with the casino business?

Very little. We have a sound stage here, and we’ve had been doing some filming. A problem for Vegas is that there are no tax breaks for film and TV shows. So it makes it difficult for people who want to move here.

Acts stay in Las Vegas forever. The casino infrastructure makes it hard to break away.

Very difficult. The money is so good that it just lures acts into staying in one place. It makes it impossible for anyone to want to leave that place. Look at someone like (the late) Danny Gans. He was a tremendous success in Las Vegas, but was never successful outside of this town.

[After stints at the Stratosphere, and the Rio, singer/comedian and vocal impressionist Danny Gans had an 8 year headlining run at the Mirage, where he reigned in his self-titled theater. Before his death in May, 2009 Gans had moved across the street, and into the new Encore Theatre.]

Is Las Vegas a magnet for attracting talent?

I don’t know if this is necessarily like a magnet to come here but there are a lot of people here who are very, very talented.

It’s certainly not known as a music market.

No it isn’t. Not at all. That’s so crazy.

You’re from Brooklyn?

Oh yeah, I’m a Brooklyn girl. I came to California always believing that I was going back to New York. I never thought I would stay out there. It's impossible to even think I would stay out there. But things went well.

What part of Brooklyn are you from?

Brownsville (in eastern Brooklyn). The same street as (boxer) Mike Tyson. I had parents that were Holocaust survivors. I was a rough kid.

How did you get into the music business in New York?

I graduated in theatre and English from Emerson College in Boston; I wanted to be an actress and a singer. I came back to New York after I graduated. My roommate and I took an apartment in Manhattan. Of course, I had to find a job to eat while I was pursuing this career of mine. I got a job at IFA (International Famous Agency). I started out as a secretary. Although I wanted to be in the department that covered Broadway shows, they stuck me in the music department with all of the contemporary bands.

IFA had a lot of rock stuff.

They had everything in the world. They had a lot of rock stuff like the Grateful Dead, and had the more mellow kind of acts like Cat Stevens, and Elton John. But basically, (the agency) was rock and roll.

Who were the agents at IFA at the time?

It was Ed Rubin, Abby Hoffer, Ken Martel, Shelly Schultz, Ron Rainey, and Andy Kaufman.

Your relationship with Seals & Croft developed at IFA.

One of the first acts that they introduced me to there was Seals & Croft, who were signed to IFA. Nobody there want to pay any attention to them. Nobody. I fell in love with them and became friendly with their manager, Marcia Day.

That led to you working with Marcia in Los Angeles for 4 1/2 years.

She’s the reason I moved to California. Marcia said, “C’mon to California, and work for me.” I thought that was a great idea.

What would convince you to go to California to work with Marcia?

It was complete instinct. It was nothing more than she said it, and I said “yes” and I was gone. It really was that simple. I loved the group. I thought that there was a career and a future there for me. I just felt, “What am I waiting for?” In life, it’s good to take chances, especially when you are young. Why not take chances? What do you have to lose?

Seals & Croft was a big act at the time.

They were huge and wonderful people. We had a great time. It was wonderful.

Did you become a Baha'i?

I’ve been a Baha'i since 1971.

Many people felt like outsiders dealing Seals & Croft and their management because of their Baha'i faith.

I say this about any religion, “Never judge a religion by the people.” Or, forget about it. Nobody would be anything. I was so opposed to even thinking about the Baha'i faith when I first met them that I was reading the material just to show them how stupid it was and how cultish it was. Jimmy and Dash would come over to IFA and quote things from the Baha'i writings. I was like, “Oh my gawd, I’m going to die. I’m from Brooklyn. This is the last thing in the world that I want to hear.” But as I was going through the process, I starting thinking that this makes a lot of sense.

[Seals and Crofts--Jim Seals and Dash Crofts--were one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s. Earlier, the pair were members of the Champs, which recorded the 1958 #1 hit “Tequila.” As Seals and Crofts, their Top 10 hits included "Summer Breeze" "Diamond Girl,” And “Get Closer.”

After converting to the Bahá'í faith in 1969, the duo became part of a family-style religious community and business conglomerate in San Fernando managed by Crofts' mother-in-law, Marcia Day. All five of her daughters were active in the operation, as were Day’s four other sons-in-law who played backup or production roles with the duo. Seals and Crofts disbanded in 1980, and both members went on to become public advocates of the Bahá'í faith.]

What did you learn from working for the late Marcia Day?

I learned about what to do, and a lot of what not to do with Marcia. She was a tough lady. She was very tough. I think that when she was a manager that it was a time that female managers thought that they had to be tougher than the guys to do whatever they had to do.

There weren’t many female managers in the music industry in L.A. back then.

No there weren’t. There was Susan Maneo, and Marcia and later on came Trudy Green and me. That was it. That really was the whole lot.

Marcia made a lot of enemies.

Marcia was tough, but she was also abrasive. She had a way of making people not like her. I learned a long time ago that you never alienate people where there could be a future potential relationship.

When Marcia was no longer managing Seal & Croft, she couldn’t make any headway with any of the record companies. She’d made too many enemies. When she no longer had power, it wasn’t like she could go and use the talent. When you don’t have power, you have to use your talent. You have to use something to get by, and around (obstacles). She never did it. But her whole focus in life was Seals & Croft. I’m not sure she wanted to do something (else) at the end of the day. She was so locked into the (Bahá'í) faith, and doing (management) for the faith.

The first act you managed was England Dan and John Ford Coley with Jimmy Seals’ younger brother Dan.

They had a magical sound together. Like Seals & Croft. They had a harmony that just touched me. It was something that hit me on a visceral level, and on a spiritual level. This (act) was just something that I was going to stick with no matter what. I loved their music. And I loved them as people as well.

They did three albums for A&M Records.

Herb Alpert signed them. (A&M co-owners) Herb and Jerry (Moss) loved the group. They had a hit “Simone” in Japan (reached #1 there; the track was popular in France as well). At that time, Japan was a really good market. By the third album, (the relationship with A&M) just wasn’t working.

[Dan Seals and John Coley first met in high school, in Dallas, Texas. They were both working in a Texas band called Southwest F.O.B. (Freight On Board). The band released one album (since reissued by the Sundazed label) and enjoyed regional success with the single “Smell of Incense.” Southwest F.O.B., however, broke up in 1969. Seals and Coley re-connected again in Los Angeles when Susan Joseph heard Southwest F.O.B.'s album and suggested that the pair try to make it on their own. Seals then called Coley, who was still in Dallas, and encouraged him to come out to Los Angeles. The duo was signed to A&M Records, and recorded three albums there.]

The A&M lot was a magical place in those days.

It was fantastic. Those days, unfortunately, are gone. But those were such wonderful, and amazing days. I don’t even know how you describe it to people who haven’t experienced it.

Who signed England Dan and John Ford Coley to Big Tree Records?

It was Doug Morris. That’s a good story. I was playing (senior VP) Bob Greenberg at Atlantic (music by) England Dan. I kept playing them to him over the course of the year. He said he loved them but that he just needed that one song. So when I found “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” and we cut it, I brought it to Bob. He said, “That’s it. We’re signing you.” The next morning I get a call from a lawyer, Eric Kronfeld, who said, “You have a record that my client wants.” I asked, “Who’s your client?” He said, “Doug Morris from Big Tree Records.”

I had never heard of Big Tree Records or Doug Morris. I told him that we had a deal with Atlantic. He said, “Not exactly, I think that this is the deal from Atlantic.” I said, “No, no, no! I don’t even know what you are talking about!” He said that Doug was interested in signing a singles deal. I wasn’t interested in a singles deal. I wanted a record deal.

The next day Doug Morris calls me. Well, we were on the phone for five hours--five hours. At the end of the call, I said, “I’m going to sign my group to you because I believe that you are going to break this record.”

[Doug Morris ran Big Tree Records from 1970 to 1978 when he sold the company to Atlantic Records and became president of Atco and Atlantic’s custom labels. His singles-based label released recordings by April Wine, the Neighborhood, Suzi Quatro, Brownsville Station, Lobo, the Magic Lanterns, and Hot Chocolate.]

Now you had to tell England Dan and John Ford Coley that they weren’t being signed by a major label.

Right. That they weren’t being signed by Columbia or Atlantic. Oh my gawd, they were going to assassinate me. They were so angry. They were flipping out. Then Jimmy Seals came over, because he’s Danny’s brother, “How could you do this to my brother?” I said to everybody, “Back off. This is the right decision, and it’s going to work.”

After you agreed to sign with Big Tree, Doug Morris didn’t return your calls.

I couldn’t get him on the phone for two weeks. I started calling him three times a day. He still wouldn’t take my call. So I flew to New York. I went to the Atlantic Building (where Big Tree was) and I went up to his office. I looked in his room and I saw this guy, and I said, “Are you Doug Morris?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “I’m Susan Joseph. I’m here to make my record deal.” I walked in, and we did the deal. It was a great song, and the rest is history.

[“I'd Really Like to See You Again” reached #2 on The Billboard Hot 100. England Dan and John Ford Coley’s follow-up hits on the Billboard Hot 100 included “Nights Are Forever Without You” (#10), “We’ll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again” (#9), and “Love is The Answer” (#10)]

You had a great run with England Dan and John Ford Coley.

It was a great time with great people, and they had such great songs. These were very good people who really always tried to do the right thing. It was a shame that Danny and John broke up, but when you are with somebody for that long, it’s like a bad marriage. After a while you are saying to yourself, “I can’t breathe. If I see this person one more time, I’m going to die.”

At what point did you start managing Laura Branigan?

It was after her deal (was made) with Atlantic Records. I had met her because Jack White, who was producing her, brought me into the studio. I was managing one of his acts, Stevie Woods, that Doug Morris had also signed. So, Jack wanted me to come and meet her. At that point, Laura was being managed by Sid Bernstein. I came in and listened to the music. Her husband asked me what I thought was going to happen with the record. They weren’t releasing “Gloria.” They were releasing another record (“All Night With Me”). I said, “I think the record is going to go to number 69, and drop dead.”

Sure enough, the single went to number 69, and dropped dead, and I got a call from Laura asking me to come to New York, because she wanted me to manage her. She said her contract with Sid Bernstein was up, so I flew to New York. I got the red-eye (flight), and got to their apartment at 9 A.M. She said, “I have to go to Sid Bernstein’s right now, and tell him.” I went, “Whoa. I just flew here all night young lady. You told me that this contract is over.” She said, “Well, we had a little extension. I’m really not signed.” Blah, blah, blah. I said, “You solve it.” She got out of (the contract), and came back, and we worked together. Laura had a phenomenal voice. She really did have a beautiful voice. I loved her voice.

[Despite her big ‘80s hits, like "Gloria,” "Self Control", "Solitaire" and "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” Laura Branigan is often overlooked today. She died at her home on Long Island, New York, on August 26, 2004. Her death was attributed to a previously undiagnosed brain aneurysm.]

Jack White was working with Diane Warren around the same time.

I signed Diane to Jack White. I was managing Diane and I signed that (publishing) deal. Nobody in the entire world would give Diane Warren a publishing deal. Nobody. A major publisher told me that her music gave him hives. So nobody would step up. Isn’t that horrible?

She was then quite young and, by some accounts, very precocious.

She was very precocious. She also had the talent. We finally convinced Jack to sign her. It didn’t take too much convincing for him to sign her. He started by giving her translations (of Italian songs) to do in English. She worked with Laura Branigan.

[ After producing hits in Germany for Tony Marshal, Andrea Jürgens, and Lena Valaitis, Cologne-born White (aka Horst Nussbaum) hit the international pop music sweepstakes by producing Laura Branigan's ‘80s hits "Gloria," Ti Amo,” and "Self Control.” Diane Warren was signed to White’s publishing company, and Arista Publishing administered his catalog. Through them, Warren had her first hit in 1983, writing the lyrics to Branigan's “Solitaire.” Then, Warren’s song “Rhythm Of The Night” provided a 1985 breakthrough for DeBarge, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was featured in Berry Gordy’s film “The Last Dragon.”]

Management has broadened over the years to now include marketing and other things.

Managers have everything today (in-house), but I’m my entire department when it comes to that because I’ve done it all. When you have done it all, you really can guide people. Even though the business has changed, it still has the same allure for me.

With the popularity of “American Idol” and other talent shows, everybody now thinks they can be a star.

I know. But the lesson to learn from “Idol” is that there isn’t anyone but Carrie Underwood who won “American Idol” who has really stayed around. We have Jennifer Hudson, and she didn’t win. Daughtry didn’t win. Other than Kelly Clarkson, who I am not a fan of, it’s Carrie Underwood. I think that she’s one of the greatest talents ever. She would have made it anyway. The lesson learned is that real talent always rises to the top, as it should.

Do these talent shows unrealistically raise expectations for those involved?

Probably. It probably does raise the expectation, but at the end of the day people from “Star Search” to “The Gong Show” to “American Idol” and whatever, people are always dreaming. People always have, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If we dream, we are kind of in good shape. Our kids are lucky that they live in a place where we do have “American Idol” and can think, “I may be able to make this happen in my life.” That is kind of exciting. More power to them. “American Idol” is a great show. I just don’t always agree with their choices.

Larry LeBlanc is widely recognized as one of the leading music industry journalists in the world. Before joining CelebrityAccess in 2008 as senior editor, he was the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard from 1991-2007 and Canadian editor of Record World from 1970-89. He was also a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record. He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, and the London Times. He is co-author of the book “Music From Far And Wide: Celebrating 40 Years Of The Juno Awards.”

 

 

VEGAS SEVEN: INTRIGUING PEOPLE 2011: DAREN LIBONATI: THE SHOWMAN
By Sean DeFrank, January 27th, 2011 - WeeklySeven.com

As a former UNLV place-kicker, Daren Libonati knows the deal: If everything is perfect, youíve simply done your job; if you fail, that job might not be there for you. The same concept applies to Libonatiís role in bringing headline sporting and entertainment events to Las Vegas in the past 25 years, an approach thatís gone straight and right down the middle every time.

Following a 10-year run as executive director of the Thomas & Mack Center, Sam Boyd Stadium and Cox Pavilion, Libonati, 45, resigned last August to become president and COO of Justice Entertainment Group, allowing him to not only continue producing events at the three UNLV facilities, but also to broaden his entertainment portfolio. In helping to lure performers and events such as U2, Garth Brooks, the NBA All-Star Game, Vegoose and Professional Bull Riders to Las Vegas, Libonati makes sure clients and partners feel they got more than they paid for, or as he puts it, "more than a receipt."

"My belief system is this: If I can understand your need, Iíll meet it, and then mine will be met," he says. Libonati began his career as a marketing intern at the Thomas & Mack before becoming the venueís booking director. He later moved on to the MGM Grand Garden Arena and Primmís Star of the Desert Arena before returning to his alma mater, where he helped launch UNLVtickets.com. It has been a career rich with impressive booking coups, but Libonati says his proudest professional moment came when he helped stage a series of lucrative Grateful Dead concerts at Sam Boyd in the early 1990s. His newest baby is the USA Rugby Sevens Tournament, set for its second year at Sam Boyd on Feb. 12-13.

Libonatiís interest in music and sports carries over into his personal life: Along with spending time with his wife, Hillary, and their two children, he plays guitar and piano and competes in mini-triathlons. He also has a playful side on the job. In an attempt to arrange a 1993 Greg Haugen-Julio Cesar Chavez boxing match at the Thomas & Mack, Libonati wrote a 22-line poem to boxing promoter Don King, including this couplet: I ask you now, promoter extraordinaire Donít leave this deal up in the air Alas, the fight would up in Mexico City.

While at the Thomas & Mack and MGM, though, Libonati helped stage numerous high-profile boxing cards, including the second Lennox Lewis-Evander Holyfield fight in 1999. His passion for boxing has carried over to Justice Entertainment, where he continues to deliver knockout performances.

 

 

UNLV ATHLETICS PARTNERS WITH JUSTICE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP TO BOOK, MARKET SPECIAL EVENTS. Relationship allows for additional revenue streams to support university
- November 1, 2010 - LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) -

UNLV Athletics has announced it has partnered with Justice Entertainment Group (JEG) in a unique relationship to book and market special events hosted at UNLV Athletics' three entertainment facilities - Thomas & Mack Center, Sam Boyd Stadium and Cox Pavilion. Events held at the athletic department's facilities help to bring in over $275 million annually in non-gaming revenue to the Las Vegas market. The profits generated by the special events at the facilities go to support the University of Nevada, Las Vegas - including the athletics department.

"In today's economic climate, it's crucial that we think of unique alternatives to protect the university's current revenue streams as well as create new revenue streams," said Jim Livengood, UNLV's Director of Athletics. "This relationship does just that. We have a great existing working relationship with those involved and they are able to bring additional resources to enhance what we can do here with our special events. This is good for our customers, our promoters and producers, our partners and the department." JEG is an entertainment and business company that specializes in producing entertainment and sporting event content for arenas, stadiums, theaters and night clubs. It is a promoter and producer of concert tours, festivals and sporting events as well as convention content for private commercial partners and properties.

The company is led by president and chief operating officer Daren Libonati. Libonati recently resigned after a 10-year stint as executive director of the Thomas & Mack, Sam Boyd Stadium and Cox Pavilion. Under Libonati's leadership, UNLVTickets.com - UNLV Athletics' own ticketing division - was successfully launched and is an important component of supporting UNLV Athletics' sports programs and special events through its ticketing and marketing programs. "Having Daren and the JEG team involved helps us to preserve many successful relationships that have built over the years - some going back as far as when the Thomas & Mack was first opened in 1983," Livengood said. "The success of the special events side of our department is important to so many people, not just us. Great people like Las Vegas Events, the LVCVA and our Strip properties are great partners and we need to be equipped to best serve them and this helps us to do just that."

Libonati, a UNLV graduate and a former Rebel student-athlete as a member of the football program, said the opportunity to team with entertainment industry veteran Susan Joseph - who is the chairman of JEG - was too much to pass. However, he said the opportunity to continue having a major impact on the success of the special events hosted by UNLV Athletics allows him to continue serving a place that is so special to him.

"We're thrilled that Jim embraced the vision," Libonati said. "He believes in me, he believes in Susan and what our team can do. The plan maintains the integrity and consistency within our industry and with our clients today. This opportunity allows for our business culture, relationships and clients to remain intact while exploring new opportunities together that will ultimately enhance UNLV Athletics - both our special events and our athletic programs. At the end of the day, the success of the athletics department positively impacts our student-athletes at UNLV. And, obviously, that means a lot to me."