Millions at stake for Michael Jackson tour

AEG already spent $20 mil on London dates

NASHVILLE -- With more than $85 million already in the bank from ticket sales for 50 sold out shows at London's O2 Arena, what's on the line business-wise surrounding Michael Jackson's reported death can't be overstated.

The shows, which were to begin July 15, would have been Jackson's first in 12 years. Producer/promoter AEG Live footed the bill for a $20 million production and, according to Billboard calculations, Jackson's take on ticket sales alone would have been north of $50 million. The total ticket gross for the run would be 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.

AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips told Billboard.biz on May 12 that his company was well-insured for the event. "We have one policy in place and we're negotiating for an even larger binder," said Phillips, who could not be immediately reached for comment regarding today's development. "We have insured the production costs. In order to get the first part of the insurance in place [Jackson] had to have a physical, and he passed it with flying colors."

Phillips continued, "Michael's in incredible physical shape, he's got tremendous stamina, he's been working out aerobically preparing for this, and he is totally engaged.
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