Thursday, March 12, 2009 | 7:21 p.m.
An astounding 1.5 million-plus people seeking Michael Jackson tickets for the 20,000-seat 02 Arena in London swamped phone lines and the Internet in the past 48 hours in London. And that’s before general admission tickets go on sale at midnight tonight our time -- 7 a.m. in England tomorrow!
The pre-sale tickets available only to individuals with special passwords turned into a technical disaster. “To say the demand just crashed the systems is an understatement. It simply died. The demand was too big to even repair it as it grew,” I was told.
Michael, as we reported at dawn today (click HERE for the story), added nearly 20 shows to the original 10 in a bid to help ease the demand and congestion.
The ploy didn’t work fast enough as demand continues to grow “out of control,” and now in London “unbelievable crowds” in the thousands have begun pouring into overnight camping lines at 02 Arena to purchase general admission tickets tomorrow morning.
Michael has agreed this afternoon London time to again extend his British stay because of the unprecedented demand and added 15 concerts through to the New Year. The dates in January and February that tally up to more than 40 shows will end Feb. 18. Michael is now guaranteed some $60 million from ticket sales alone, plus merchandise sales and now a confirmed Live from London CD.
Ticket buyers included fans outside Britain, and hundreds of fans are set to fly into England from as far away as Australia, Japan and the U.S. to see him perform what he has described as the final live shows of his career. However, I believe that this ticket furor will simply convince Michael that he can duplicate it next year stateside -- and probably at one of promoter AEG Concerts West’s venues. Here in Vegas, AEG runs the Caesars Palace Colosseum and the new Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.
An amazingly strong ticket re-sale market has sprung up overnight in the British capital. "Spivs," the Cockney term for unauthorized ticket brokers (or scalpers here in the U.S.), are selling a pair of tickets for as much as $5,500. “There simply hasn't ever been such a phenomenon like this in pop music before. It will be the largest ticket sale for one megastar in world history -- and will probably never be beaten,” one of my old London journalist pals told me early today.
I have my ticket for his premiere there to ensure that Vegas DeLuxe has full coverage, and, no, I'm not reselling it at a profit even though it cost me $1,250!