Michael Jackson concert promoter AEG Live to refund tickets
The reimbursement will cover tickets purchased through 'authorized agents.' Fans can opt to receive their specially designed tickets instead of a refund.
Michael Jackson's untimely death sent fans around the world into paroxysms of mourning. Closer to home, it created a logistical nightmare for AEG Live, the Los Angeles-based concert promoter behind the 50 comeback concerts that had been set to begin July 13 at London's O2 Arena.
The company sold more than 750,000 tickets for the performances, scheduled to run through March 2010, which amount to more than $85 million.
Today, AEG Live announced it would issue full refunds -- including all ticket service charges -- to fans from 200 countries who purchased tickets through "authorized agents."
Beginning July 1, ticket holders seeking reimbursement will be directed to www.MichaelJacksonLive.com. The refunds will be processed by such ticketing agencies as Ticketmaster, Ticketline and the ticket-reselling agent Viagogo in the U.K., the announcement said.
"The world lost a kind soul who just happened to be the greatest entertainer the world has ever known," Randy Phillips, chief executive of AEG Live, said in a statement. "Since he loved his fans in life, it is incumbent upon us to treat them with the same reverence and respect after his death."
Alternately, AEG is offering ticket holders the choice to receive the tickets they would have gotten, in place of a full refund - an expensive memento meant to appeal to Jackson's most devoted fans.
But, as the announcement points out, these are not just any tickets. Printed with a "special lenticular process" -- a kind of 3-D image that changes or moves when viewed from different angles -- they were "inspired and designed" by Jackson.
Reached today, British fan Crystal Hosking said having a keepsake of her musical hero was more important to her than money.
"I am going to ask for the ticket," she said in an e-mail message. "It cost 75 [British pounds]. Whilst that is pricey, I am a HUGE Michael Jackson fan. It will always make me think of the show I would have loved to see."
The offer to receive the tickets will remain valid through Aug. 14.
EBay confirmed it would fully refund fans who bought tickets to the O2 concerts -- that reportedly ran as high as 10,000 British pounds -- through its website.
-- Chris Lee
Photo: One of the first tickets sold for the July 8th Michael Jackson concert in London. Credit: Akira Suemori / Associated Press