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

June 25, 2009 |  6:27 pm

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