Michael Jackson sells out 50, sort of -- secondary market tix topping $4,000
Michael Jackson's recent proclamation that his planned shows in London will be his "final curtain call" are inspiring fast ticket sales. Hundreds of fans queued up this morning to buy tickets to the 50-date run, which is tabled to begin July 8, and the BBC reports that all 50 dates have sold out. Of course, that depends on your definition of "sold out."
First, the BBC writes that "more than a million tickets to see the veteran pop star have now been sold," adding that approximately 360,000 were sold to via a pre-sale. Jackson's "This is It!" string of dates will plant the "King of Pop" in London through February 2010. It's quite the bold undertaking for an artist who hasn't staged any substantial live performances in more than a decade and has been plagued by controversy for much of that time.
Of course, the "sell-outs" hardly means that tickets aren't available. Promoter AEG Live cut a deal with ticket reseller Viagogo, reports Billboard.biz. The magazine quotes AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips as saying that "a small percentage of the house every night" had been given to Viagogo.
There's still plenty of tix available, at least for those willing to pay. On the second night of the tour, you can get a pair for $4,217. The ticket prices on the secondary market drop substantially as the run continues, however. If you have faith that Jackson will perform all 50 of his dates (and why would anyone be skeptical?), then you can commit about $700 to see him in February 2010.
Oh, and Billboard also notes that Viagogo "did something really bad," according to AEG's Phillips. Apparently it sent out e-mails to other brokers around London, offering them packages at a discount. AEG is trying to put an end to that.
But why would Viagogo offer tickets to other secondary market sellers at a discount when it has the hottest ticket in London? Is it skeptical of Jackson's recent performance history? Check the fine print on its site:
6.8 All Sales are Final. All sales and bids are final. No refunds, cancellations or exchanges will be issued for date or time changes, partial performances, or lost tickets.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Fans in London line up to buy Jackson tickets. Credit: EPA