President | Crypto.com Arena / Peacock Theater / LA Live
Lee Zeidman learned early in his nearly 40-year career about the importance of speaking up and asking questions. For Zeidman, president of Crypto.com Arena and the Peacock Theater, there was a critical moment when doing so cleared a path to his profession, which included opening the downtown LA arena 24 years ago.
In the late 1980s, Zeidman interviewed for the job of director of operations at the Forum, which at the time was home of the NBA Lakers and NHL Kings. After an initial interview in which Zeidman was told he was the right candidate, he had a final talk with Doug Logan, vice president of operations for Ogden Entertainment, which ran the arena.
The interview came to a close and Logan asked Zeidman if he had any questions. Zeidman said, “I thought this interview was for director of operations; it sounds like you’re looking for a director of finance.” Logan looked at Zeidman’s resume and realized Ogden had two positions to fill. Logan sent Zeidman’s resume to Claire Rothman, the Forum’s general manager, and recommended that she immediately meet with Zeidman.
He was hired and the rest is history. Zeidman spent 10 years at the Forum before moving to the new downtown arena as the first employee hired by Tim Leiweke, president of the Kings at the time and now co-founder and CEO of Oak View Group.
“If I didn’t ask that question, we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Zeidman said. “That’s one of the things that I tell students and young professionals when I talk with them. It doesn’t make a difference if that person is six steps above you; always ask questions, because that’s the only way you get educated.”
Zeidman, now 68, has a few years left in the tank as Crypto.com Arena heads into the third phase of its transformation. It’s the heaviest lift for the project with a lot of moving parts in construction, which will bring a tremendous amount of stress for staff, he said.
“There’s going to be a time when I don’t want to be beholden to the event calendar,” Zeidman said. “I’ve had a career that far exceeded what I thought was possible. Now, it’s about giving back to the industry by speaking with students and maybe sit on a related board of directors.” ” — Don Muret