How much is a Michael Jackson souvenir worth? What if 750,000 other people have that same "rare" item? Beginning on Wednesday (July 1), that is the dilemma that will face MJ fans who bought tickets to the late singer's sold-out 50-show run at the O2 Arena in London. Concert promoter AEG Live announced on Monday that the fans who paid to attend the show — now canceled in light of the singer's death on Thursday — can either get fully reimbursed for their purchase or receive a keepsake copy of the ticket, which features graphics inspired and designed by Jackson himself.
AEG informed fans that they have from Wednesday until August 14 to request either the refund or the souvenir ticket at MichaelJacksonLive.com. To date, fans had reportedly shelled out more than $90 million on the tickets, priced between $82 and $124 each, with some going for much more than that on Internet auction sites. The refund will include all service charges as well. "The world lost a kind soul who just happened to be the greatest entertainer the world has ever known. Since he loved his fans in life, it is incumbent upon us to treat them with the same reverence and respect after his death," AEG President and CEO Randy Phillips said in an announcement of the refund policy.
The concert promotions firm has been left on the hook for tens of millions of dollars as a result of Jackson's death, and officials have not yet revealed whether any of the insurance policies they took out on Jackson will cover any of those expenses. A cause of death for the 50-year-old singer has not yet been determined, but Billboard reported that if it is revealed that he died of a preexisting condition or of a drug overdose, AEG could be liable for any loss, including the estimated $30 million it sunk into the elaborate production, the $10 million it reportedly fronted Jackson and the cost of refunding the tickets.
The first of the This Is It shows was scheduled to take place on July 13. AEG reportedly recorded Jackson's run-through of the performance on Wednesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, just hours before he went into cardiac arrest and died.
Don't miss "Michael Jackson: Picking Up the Pieces," Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on CBS, featuring a special report from MTV News.
For complete coverage of the life, career and passing of the legendary entertainer, visit "Michael Jackson Remembered."
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