Michael Jackson memorial: More money out of Phil Anschutz's pocket

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The throng already descending on Los Angeles this morning to attend the Michael Jackson memorial service is being estimated in the seven-figure range, and as the Los Angeles Times notes, their presence is expected to give the city's tourist industry a multi-million-dollar boost. But while hoteliers, memorabilia sellers and plenty more will be walking away from the bash with plenty of folding green, others may wind up in the red -- foremost among them Denver-based billionaire Phil Anschutz, whose entertainment arm, AEG, was set to produce Jackson's fifty-date European tour. The June 29 blog "How Much Will Michael Jackson's Death Cost Phil Anschutz?" collects reports suggesting that AEG was unable to insure at least half of the sold-out dates -- and if true, the costs of refunding ticket-holders and paying off contractors would be hefty indeed. In addition, AEG handled the ticketing for the memorial, and because the ducats were free, the result will probably generate a net loss, too. Finally, the service, co-starring the likes of Stevie Wonder, Usher and Jennifer Hudson, is taking place in the Staples Center, which is owned by (you guessed it) Anschutz. And while some revenue will be generated by parking, concession and so on, it's unlikely that it'll offset enormous additional security costs.

By the way, Jackson fans in Denver will have absolutely no problem catching the extravaganza, which is slated to begin at 11 a.m. Mountain time. In addition to cable news outlets, local stations such as Channel 4 have shifted their schedule to bring it to viewers, while AM 760 is simulcasting it for folks stuck in their cars around then. As for those of you hoping to avoid being inundated with more Michael Mania, well, that'll be tougher.

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