Saturday, June 27, 2009
Michael Jackson was slated to perform a 50-run show entitled This Is It in London beginning July 13th. Now AEG, the concert promoter, will have to figure out how to refund more than $85 million in ticket sales and recover at least $20 million spent on production costs, which does not includes a $10 million advance already paid to Jackson. A Billboard article summarizes the problem nicely:
For AEG, "it's either horrible or really horrible," a concert business executive says.
[A] source familiar with the situation says a traditional nonappearance policy was never written. Billboard couldn't confirm that at press time. Even if AEG had a policy, that doesn't mean Jackson's death, and the losses incurred, would be covered. "If it was a pre-existing condition or drug- or alcohol-related, a normal cancellation policy would not cover that, even if he had passed a medical exam," the source says. AEG could be on the hook "if death was from something that's excluded in the policy."
Ultimately, AEG may have to file a claim against Jackson's estate. And since Jackson has hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, and a couple of multimillion-dollar lawsuits pending, the worth of that estate is very much in doubt.
Ray Waddell, Fortune at Stake on Michael Jackson London Concerts, Billboard, June 25, 2009.
The website promoting Jackson's tour says refund procedures will be released early next week. See michaeljacksonlive.com.