Concert Ticket Nightmare Following Jackson Death

Jun. 26 2009, Published 5:25 a.m. ET

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Michael Jackson’s sudden death has left his UK promoter with a potential $480 million insurance liability headache as thousands of fans demand refunds for their tickets.

Almost one million tickets have been sold across the world for the 50 concerts at London’s O2 arena.

Now, has learned that promoter AEG Live faces the massive insurance liability from empty nights in the venue and that it could take some time to refund the fans.

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Official agents Ticketmaster and secondary agent Viagogo were unable to reassure customers who spent as much as $1600 for a ticket they would be refunded.

In an interview with The London Evening Standard newspaper - the day before Jackson died - David Campbell AEG’s chief executive said: “People have said I’m a greedy bastard because Michael is doing 50 shows – the truth is we could have sold out 120.”

Campbell spoke of how fantastic the deal was for the O2 arena and joked that he would have to go on stage himself if Jackson failed to turn-up.

He refused to comment after the singer’s  sudden death from a reported cardiac arrest on Thursday afternoon.

Billboard magazine tour expert Ray Waddell said: “Whatever happens the $85 million taken in ticket sales will needed to be refunded to the public – it will be messy and expensive but it will need to happen quickly.”

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About 800,000 tickets have been sold the majority for $150 and $175 although 50,000 “premium” seats were put up for sale via Viagogo for up to $1600 - it is thought half have sold.

Another agency, Seatwave, claims to have sold 10,000 tickets – but thousands who bought from private sellers, tour sites and sites such as e-Bay are likely to be out of pocket.

British politicians Friday called for AEG and other agencies to refund fans who had already bought tickets to see Jackson.

Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Fans will obviously be distraught to hear the news of Michael Jackson’s death.

“However, those who bought tickets to see him at the 02 should get their money back.”


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