If Tinseltown didn't know Philip Anschutz before, it does now. In addition to his recent major investments in movie theaters and two production companies, Anschutz also owns the $94 million Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, where the Academy Awards were staged last month. On that night, the Denver billionaire's spanking-new, 3,500-seat media mecca got almost as much attention as the movie stars.
Anschutz also has a majority stake in the Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Kings, and is reportedly giving serious thought to building a Los Angeles-area theater to host the Emmy Awards. Here are some of the other places the country's fastest-rising entertainment/ sports/media mogul has been flexing his wallet:
Professional soccer: Anschutz Entertainment Group now owns four Major League Soccer teams (and has an interest in a fifth) in addition to your hometown Colorado Rapids. Media movers and shakers like Disney, which owns the Anaheim Mighty Ducks pro-hockey franchise, have paved the way for pro-sports/entertainment synergy, and Anschutz appears to be following suit. Indeed, the Rapids are listed as a co-sponsor for a screening of Joshua, the first film put out by Crusader Entertainment, Anschutz's main production company.
Professional hockey: In addition to a controlling interest in the Los Angeles Kings, the Anschutz Entertainment Group also owns hockey and soccer teams in Europe.
Radio: Anschutz owns 56 percent of a new company called Newspaper Radio Corp., which recently bought independent Denver radio station KDKO for $2.7 million. The other major owner is Anschutz's son-in-law, Tim Brown, who is also the company's chairman and CEO. The firm plans massive upgrades to the station, including going digital. It has been reported that the station may be working with the Denver Newspaper Agency to develop a news-talk format whereby reporters working for the Denver Postand the Rocky Mountain News would provide on-air content.
Digital: Qwest Communications, another Anschutz entity, runs Qwest Digital Media, which partnered with Twentieth Century-Fox to present digital screenings of Fox's Titan A.E., a high-end children's animated fantasy.
Children's theater: The first year-round venue dedicated to live children's theater in Colorado is under construction at the new Colorado Mills mall in Lakewood. The Walden Family Playhouse, a 476-seat venue, will be part of the complex, which includes a sixteen-screen United Artists multiplex at I-70 and West Colfax Avenue (United Artists recently became a part of Anschutz's Regal Entertainment Group). If this grandiose showcase succeeds, more could sprout up nationwide.