A Live Event For a Dead Superstar Costs Taxpayers $5 Million Dollars
“This has gotten to the point, where AEG needs to step up to the plate and pay for the costs of Michael Jackson’s Memorial,” Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine said shortly after the event at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles.
From a publicity standpoint the numbers are still being tallied, but when all three networks, cable networks Fox and CNN broadcast an event live without sponsorship the lost could amount to millions of dollars. This is probably the most positive publicity Michael Jackson has received in his entire lifetime, even more than the 55 tour dates he was rehearsing for at Staples, which was shown during the live world telecast at Staples.
There was not news conference or news release needed, just a twitter or two, which also was over capacity from people tweeting inside and outside the event.
For the City of LA, $500 million in the red and sending employees home early on Fridays It was expensive. According to Zine the Swat Team and those who work anti terrorism were all called in for the media circus. Zine a former LAPD sergeant for several decades also noted that the freeways were shutdown impacting businesses and commuters to downtown Los Angeles and to and from the Forest Lawn Cemetery, where it all began at 8:00.
All the major networks put out the best LAPD message over the airwaves, “the best seat in the house is on your couch at home.” True. 17,000 plus people were issued lottery tickets, but many stayed home for the best seat in the house. So did this writer.
Overall, the ceremony was outstanding, the most dead air ever witnessed at a concert memorial, so quiet you could hear the air conditioners whirling. Most of the people inside the Staples who spoke harped on the same theme that Michael Jackson brought the world
together with songs like, “I will be there, we are the world,” and so on. The speeches were moving from Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy, Usher, Stevie Wonder and even Reverend Al Sharpen was more low key, and on key with the same theme.
There is always light at the end of the gloomy economic tunnel. In this case, one Holiday
Inn hotel manager said after AEG announced the memorial to be held across the street from his Inn, 195 rooms sold out. Elsewhere, hotels did well, too and some estimates range from $3 to $4 million from those keeping track of the figures. Tomorrow will tell a new story, and the freeways will be packed again, not with limos but single car drivers.
Tomorrow’s headlines will probably read “King of Pop Saluted in Emotional Memorial.”