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Report: Refunding Michael Jackson tickets to be a 'messy,' 'expensive' process


The repercussions of Michael Jackson's death will have a serious, damaging impact to concert promoter AEG, the full effects of which may not be known for months to come. More than $85 million worth of tickets have been sold to Jackson's 50-date run at London's O2 Arena, which was slated to begin in about two weeks on July 13, according to Billboard's touring guru Ray Waddell. 

Promoter AEG Live cut a deal with ticket reseller Viagogo, where some fans paid into the multi-thousands to see Jackson's run in London. It would have been his first major live performances in more than a decade. 

Waddell writes that refunding the $85 million "will be messy, as well as expensive, and it will need to happen quickly by law," as tickets were purchased by fans in multiple countries, and may ultimately depend on the cause of death and level of insurance AEG secured.

AEG's yearly financial results may now depend on Jackson's cause of death. One entertainment insurance industry insider says that if Jackson died from a drug overdose or a preexisting condition, the producer could be on the hook for any loss -- which would include any money already sunk into the production, as well as the considerable cost of refunding consumers for the 750,000 tickets already purchased. If Jackson signed a contract saying he would return his advance in the event he didn't perform, the company could end up in court with a long line of other Jackson creditors.

Waddell writes that even if AEG had a nonappearance policy written into the insurance, that doesn't necessarily mean Jackson's death would be covered. As previously reported by The Times, more than $20 million had been sunk into Jackson's concerts by AEG. Billboard reports that AEG stood to gross as much as $115 million, once merchandise sales were factored in. 

-- Todd Martens

Photo: AP
Comments () | Archives (26)

It's amazing how much cash the entertainment industry makes off of us artists. If you're unsigned, bottom-feeders like Sonicbids.com get your cash. If your signed to a 360 deal, the firm gets a cut of EVERYTHING the artist does. All the way up to this article. Making 117 Million off of Jackson.

Serves them right....exploitation takes a toll on even the King of Pop

I believe many folk may retain the tickets (like with the tickets for a comeback concert for Elvis) as they should hold much value.

You should reflect on the fact that it is the Industry that makes people like, Jackson, Beetles, and many others rich and famous in the first place.
Live with it, the internet wont change it much.

Michael hasn't even been gone 24 hours, and they are already talking about refunding MONEY for his concerts! I can not believe this! Miss you Michael.

Believe it!
Good article - finally a piece which offers pertinent information reaching beyond the trite and predictable drivel of eulogies and babble. It's fascinating to look behind the scenes, as a reminder that these human deities walking the Earth are purely manufactured and extraordinarily fallible, as we all are. This is worth contemplating for the hordes or worshipers out there, who forget that we get nowhere with this insane behavior of ours.

First thng comes to mind: Karma. Michael Jackson was supremely talented. But fans have to remember that this guy was and is being sued by a ton of people for ripping them off. And then there's the stuff with the kids. The face he showed to the public is NOT the face behind the scenes. Mourn the loss of a great talent, mourn the loss a guy who got caught up in all the craziness, probably against his nature. But don't revise history with the pen of sentiment. Don't put this man on a pedastal he doesn't deserve to be on. It dishonors the truly good people out there who consistently do the right thing. And Michael Jackson sure as hell didn't. He lived a life that could only lead to an early and tragic death. But he sure was great at what he did....

I loved MJ to bits and am so gutted to have been just a mere 22 days away from seing him live BUT at the end of the day i have paid almost £100 for something i aint gona get!!!! dont care if it makes me a bad person i want 2 know how and wen im getting my money back theres nothing wrong with that!

P.S. rest in peace Michael!

I think that concert ticketholders should keep their tickets as a remembrance of Jackson and not ask for a refund. If everyone who bought ticktes did do, his concerts, although never performed, would still make some $$ and could be given to his children or designated to go to a specific charity in his memory.

I agree with Amy. MJ died less than 24 hours ago and here is article about money the promoter may loss. How ironic it is that the only group to out sell Michael was the Eagles who wrote the song Dirty Laundry. "Begin the operation is the head dead yet? You know the boys in the newroom gotta running bet. Get the widow on the set. Give me dirty laundry."

We all lost much more than money today. I am sure the billionaire who owns this company will manage. The airing of Michael dirty laundry can wait until after he is buried. R.I.P. Michael. God know you deserve some peace.


U will forever remain my hero and mentor. U are the greatest. I miss u

Refunds should not be an option to true fans this should be the ultimate tribute to the King of Pop where are his familly in show biz?? What better way to pay last respects to a man who gave so much and asked for so little in return. The promoters should be calling on all the big names in the industry to put on a show in memory of Micheal and proceeds go to charity. Call me crazy but I think he and his family deserve this at the very least.

i agree with CBEE , you should keep the tickets, who known years from now those tickets maybe be wroth allot . but even i wouldn't sell it , it's the only memory of the legend of pop you'll ever have. R.I.P michael ( there will never be some one better then you -POP LEGEND)

What collector in their right mind would refund a ticket to the last mystery of a legend's life?

It's nice to see all of the positive comments about Michael. Please remember that only uneducated people would make inappropriate and negative comments at such a time.

ticketholders, this isn't 1975, the ducats can be kept and still your account be refunded...if anyone doesn't seek a refund, the ticket seller pockets the loot because there's no act to be paid. This is going to be in court a long long time...

I'd imagine this will end up in the courts for a very long time.
Ultimately MJ's litigation status may rival that of his entertainment status.

They shouldn't return the money. DON'T RETURN THE MONEY!!! Do another WE ARE THE WORLD! In Michael's memory, get all kinds of musicians together to do a tribute concert to Michael's amazing talent and use the money to do good in the world. The venues are already set. DON'T RETURN THE MONEY. MAKE THE CONCERTS GREAT!!

I purchased tickets to the concert and what people don't realize about just telling us to keep the tickets and cut our losses because they'll be worth something is that many of the people who purchased tickets still havent received them yet because of the postponed shows they were scheduled to be mailed within a month of the date of your show so that means people who had shows originally for the 7/12/09 that are now scheduled for 3/3/10 don't even have a ticket to show for their money. No Ticket to hang on to No Michael concert & No Refund....?

People are talking about Jackson like he was a charity case, wanting to hold benefits or see his estate get the money from a concert run he won't be making. People, he made hundreds of millions of dollars. He spent all of that, and hundreds of millions more. Save your charity for the homeless, for working families struggling to make ends meet, not for someone who couldn't manage to live on less than $20 million bucks a year.

Here in Hollywood it has been well document by TMZ and other paparazzi and news organizations that Michal Jackson was in poor health and couldn't get though any of his rehersals for the what was to be the comeback tour. Jacko was seen at a medical clinic almost daily looking frail. The press conference announcing the 50 O2 dates was thought to be a look alike because it didn't even sound like Michael.Listen closely.
Also the Jackson concerts in the US have historically burned promoters.
Its not that he just passed but major money was put up for this. Aeg should have known better. Surprised they got caught up with Jacko being a christian values company.
Bless you AEG for Beckham , Jacko failure and your bogus downtown LA plans. Downtown is still run down and 20 yrs behind times. The fact you need security bike patrols 24/7 shows place is unsafe for middle class . Its hot and dirty there. You don't live there.

Dear Ticket Holders
You tickets will not increase in value as much as you think. There are tix to 50 shows at a giant arena. Thats ALOT of tickets. If it was one show or a few then I would hold the ticket , but 50 shows?

'Dirty Laundry' was written by Don Henley on his first solo album, not The Eagles. Also, it's a song bemoaning gossip mongering. However, you slice it, though, Jackson was the victim of his own strange (and sometimes bordering illegal) behavior more so than the normal tabloid press fare that is par for the course for fame.

Hey guys - I had tickets to the July 18th show in London, and they hadn't even been mailed out yet according to Ticketmaster. I called a few days ago (before MJ passed away) and asked when they expected to mail them, and they said 10 days before the concert.

This means that there are NO physical tickets out there at all. I wish they had mailed them out though, because what better keepsake and reminder of what was to be one of the best concerts in history!! I suspect with all of the losses the promoter is taking, that they aren't going to shell out the extra $$ to have 1 000 000 tickets mailed out.

-RIP Michael

I purchased tickets for 9/21/09 to see MJ live for the first time.

The tickets were never dispatched and I have gotten emails for UK ticketmaster saying I may not receive them until 10 days before the concert.

I would love to have the actual ticket to hold on to.

I am not that concerned about a refund, I just wanted to see my idol in concert doing his magic.

I love you, Michael.

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