Will Jackson’s passing sink AEG’s ship?

06.26.09 8 years ago

AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy

With the passing of Michael Jackson yesterday (June 25), AEG Live is facing troubles, in addition to shock now that Jackson’s 50-show run at London’s O2 Arena is no more.

AEG, the world’s second largest concert promoter, was the chief engine behind the stint, and had already sank up to $30 million into the production, according to Billboard. The concert, deemed the “This Is It” series, had already culled $85 million in ticket sales – 750,000 tickets that now must be refunded. Jackson was also paid a substantial sum in the millions advance for the performances.

What’s at stake for AEG is nonappearance insurance, a policy drawn up if an artist doesn’t show (which Jackson clearly will not).

First, there’s no verification if AEG even had this policy written up in contracts.

Second, “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,” a source told Billboard. Jackson apparently did pass this medical exam before committing, “with flying colors.”

Third, if the Jackson estate is found to owe AEG for the nonappearance, there may be a struggle to pay it. The pop star has been plagued by lawsuits and debt for the last few years, causing him to close his Neverland Ranch and auction personal items, for instance.

Even if the insurance situation is best-case scenario, AEG still has to contend with a costly and quick refund situation, to fans who have bought tickets to see the London shows from all over the world.

AEG has scheduled a meeting at 12 p.m. EST to discuss how they’ll handle this windfall.

Why should consumers care? Believe it, the way the concert industry is run was already up in the air with the potential merger of Live Nation, the No. 1 concert promoter in the world, and Ticketmaster, the oft-loathed but most-used ticketing company in the world. If there is weakened competition from AEG, Live Nation will continue to control of how the world’s largest concerts and tours are presented, promoted and produced.

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