Event organiser AEG Live faces a liability of up to £300m in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death.
The organiser, a subsidiary of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), had said that it was prepared to “self-insure” the 50-show residency Jackson was due to perform at the O2 this summer, amid scepticism that the seemingly frail singer would be unable to complete his gruelling schedule.
AEG owns the long-term lease on the O2, as well as other venues including the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the Manchester Evening News (MEN) Arena.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, AEG chief executive Randy Phillips had said: “We would be prepared to self-insure to make up the dates. It’s a rishak we’re willing to take to bring the King of Pop to his fans.” Phillips had earlier said that the company was “working on the insurance cover” for Jackson, adding that the singer was “in great shape.” His view, however, was not supported by the London insurance market, which had displayed a low demand for the liability policy – thought to be valued at around £300m.
A spokesman for AEG Live told conference-news on 26 June: “We’re not commenting on anything to do with Michael Jackson at this stage, obviously, right now, we’re just shocked.”
News of Jackson’s residency had seen 360,000 fans register applications before sales had even opened, and more than one million fans attempted to get tickets for the initial run of 10 concerts, which soon spiraled to 50. “I don’t know how I’m going to do 50 shows. I’m really angry,” said Jackson at the time.
It is believed all 750,000 ticketholders will be entitled to a full refund. “Ticketholders should keep hold of their tickets and we will announce ticketing details in due course,” said a spokeswoman for the O2.