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AEG, O2 in limbo after Jackson’s death

Stephen Beard Jun 26, 2009

AEG, O2 in limbo after Jackson’s death

Stephen Beard Jun 26, 2009


KAI RYSSDAL: We probably should have expected this after the passing of Michael Jackson, but the vice president for music at Amazon.com said this morning that within minutes of the news breaking yesterday afternoon, they were sold out of everything they had by Michael and by the Jackson 5.

Clearly, the singer’s death has left his fans distraught. But it has also created a big financial headache for the concert promoter AEG Live. AEG is the one that had been organizing Jackson’s comeback concerts in London this summer. And they were expecting to bring in more than $100 million. Now though the promoters and the O2 Arena, where Jackson was set to hold those 50 concerts, could be facing multi-million dollar losses instead.

From London, Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports.

Stephen Beard: Earlier this year, Michael Jackson unveiled his plans for a marathon series of concerts in London, a comeback and a farewell tour combined.

Michael Jackson: This is it. I means this is really it. This is the final. This the final curtain call.

Fifty shows at The O2 Arena throughout the summer and winter starting next month. It would have been the most lucrative and longest series of concerts in a single venue.

Now, says Mark Sutherland of Billboard Magazine, the O2 has to come up with something else to fill the bill.

Mark SUTHERLAND: They’ve got 50 nights, which they did have not just booked but sold out. And now they’ve got to look at filling some of those nights. That’s a lot of nights to take out of your schedule.

The American promoter, AEG Live, has a bigger problem: $85 million in ticket refunds. And then there are the millions they’ve already spent on what would have been a lavish production.

Dave Brooks writes for Venues Today.

Dave Brooks: They’re contractually obligated with dozens of sub-contractors, who do lighting, sound, dancers. You assume all those folks still need to be paid.

By some estimates AEG may have already spent $30 million. The company isn’t commenting. It has said in the past the Jackson tour was insured. But Mark Sutherland says that’s not the real question.

Sutherland: It’s whether they have the insurance in place to cover every eventuality, including this one that’s probably the question that’s troubling them at the moment.

Whether the insurers pay up may depend on the precise cause of the singer’s sudden death.

In London this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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