As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Anschutz' Folly

Well this couldn't have happened to a nicer billionaire.

A tragedy for his family and a heartbreak to his fans, Michael Jackson's death also represents a blow to the L.A. concert promoter that staked its reputation on and sunk tens of millions of dollars into a lavish comeback that will never happen.

AEG Live billed "This Is It," the sold-out concert series that was to have opened July 13 in London, as the most expensive and technologically advanced arena show ever. It had invested more than $20 million to mount a production that was to have included up to 22 sets, elaborate light shows and high-wire acts. The company, which owns the Staples Center among many other venues, had also set aside 50 nights at its coveted European showplace, the O2 Arena.

With Jackson's death, AEG will have to refund the $85 million worth of tickets that were sold. Gone are the company's expected profits -- an estimated $115 million, according to Billboard -- as well as plans for a global three-year tour that the company had predicted would gross $450 million.

"They are taking a big hit," said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of concert-tracking publication Pollstar.

AEG is run by Phillip Anschutz, a right-wing Colorado oil baron who's trying to become the next Rupert Murdoch with his Examiner series of newspapers. I'm not going to weep for him losing $115 million.

The downside is that California probably loses out on a healthy chunk of tax receipts. Good thing we don't need them.

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