Michael Jackson eyes $50 million concert payday

Tue May 12, 2009 9:20pm EDT
 
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By Ray Waddell

NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Michael Jackson could take home more than $50 million from his much-anticipated 50-show stand at London's O2 Arena, his first shows in 12 years, according to Billboard calculations.

The concert series begins July 8, and the so-called "King of Pop" has been busy rehearsing at a soundstage in Burbank, Calif., for the past four weeks.

Tickets average about $115 and capacity will be about 15,000 per show, taking the gross for the run to about $90 million. Premium and VIP packages and secondary market sales will boost the gross to more than $100 million. Merchandise sales could bring in another $15 million.

The deal is set up where Jackson shares in net ticket revenue which, according to Billboard calculations, would make Jackson's take on ticket sales alone north of $50 million, though producer/promoter AEG Live would not confirm this.

The company has footed the bill for a $20 million production, and the show layout is coming together.

"Originally we tried to keep the show down to 90 minutes, but Michael has so many must-do songs in his repertoire that the shows now will be two-plus hours," AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips tells Billboard.

Phillips would not reveal details of the production, but one could expect a multi-media experience that would be "the most cutting edge ever employed on a tour. We're using technology that's never been used before in live entertainment."

Phillips says AEG Live is well-insured for the event, and 50-year-old Jackson passed a physical "with flying colors."   Continued...

 
<p>U.S. pop star Michael Jackson gestures during a news conference at the O2 Arena in London March 5, 2009. Jackson said he will hold a series of final concerts in Britain later in the year. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth</p>