Thousands of Michael Jackson fans who bought tickets to the performer's last concert have told the promoter that they would prefer to forego the $125 refund -- and keep the ticket.
The promoter, AEG Live, said on Monday that they would begin refunds on July 1 of the 750,000 tickets that were sold for Jackson’s planned 50-date concert tour in London’s 02 stadium.
But when asked, the promoter acknowledged that some large segment of fans would probably choose not to take the refund.
“We have also heard that thousands of fans who would like to keep the tickets they were to receive as a keepsake,” said a spokesman for AEG Live when asked about the issue. “We are happy to provide the opportunity for those fans to acquire their actual show ticket in lieu of receiving the refund."
This means that reports that AEG Live would take a huge financial hit -- reported to be an $85 million loss -- from the cancellation of Jackson’s concert are unlikely to come to pass.
Instead, the unrefunded cash would serve to reimburse the promoter for the millions of dollars it invested in the concert. Individuals involved with the tour estimated the cost at between $10 and $20 million.
Beyond that, any remaining revenues would be shared with the estate of Michael Jackson, as per the terms of the tour contract, according to the spokesman.
The AEG spokesman said that the “vast majority” of remaining revenue would revert to Jackson’s estate.
At a price of $125 (75 pounds) per ticket for most sales (a smaller number were part of higher-priced VIP packages), the sales would appear to total close to $100 million.
That would mean a bonanza of $50 million for a concert that never happened.
In addition, TheWrap has reported that AEG Live recorded high quality audio and video of Jackson’s last rehearsal at Staples Center last Wednesday night, just hours before the performer died of cardiac arrest. According to those familiar with the recording, it would be releasable both as a CD, DVD and Blu- and high-definition DVD.
If AEG were to do so, then it would end up making a tremendous cash windfall from the tragic situation. Jackson’s estate would also find itself with a huge financial gain.
As for the tickets to the O2 concert, ironically, Jackson had intended them to be a souvenir, designing it himself as a keepsake. The ticket is a high-tech, heavy plastic rectangle with a holographic image on it.
It is still unknown how many fans will choose to forego the ticket refund for the chance to keep the ticket itself, but some in the ticket-selling community suggested it might be as high as 50 percent.
“It would be like having the original ticket to the concert on the night before Buddy Holly crashed, or the last show before Elvis Presley died,” said one ticket-seller who declined to be identified. “Who’s not going to want to keep that?”