NFL August 26, 2007
By Alfred Branch, Jr.
Michael Vick’s fall from grace, and the beginning of the end of the relationship between Live Nation and Ticketmaster dominated the week ended August 25 in the ticketing, sports and entertainment industry.
Vick pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges related to the dogfighting ring he funded, but he did not admit to actually killing dogs, though he was well aware of the heinous deeds, nor did he admit to placing side bets on the gristly bouts. The subtle distinctions, however, might do little to save his National Football League career.
Hours after Vick filed the guilty plea, the NFL suspended the star quarterback indefinitely without pay, a move supported by his soon-to-be former team, the Atlanta Falcons. In addition to his participation and support of a blood sport, Vick lied to the Falcons and the league about his involvement, and he bankrolled a gambling operation, which in the league’s eyes, is considered a complete no-no. Even if the gambling enterprise had nothing to do with the NFL, Vick’s involvement could make him vulnerable to other illegal gambling organizations, which the league would not tolerate. . .
Published reports place Vick’s time away from the league at at least two years, if he ever returns again.
In a completely different, and far less tragic, turn of events, the business relationship between Live Nation and Ticketmaster appears to be coming to an end when the current contract between the two expires at the end of 2008.
Neither side is publicly discussing the arrangement and while negotiations may have stopped for now, there is a chance they could resume in the future. But, Live Nation would gain closer access to its customers, and generate more money instead of having to split it with a partner. Ticketmaster stands to lose its largest client and roughly $130 million in annual revenue for selling tickets to Live Nation events.
In other matters, The Cure cancelled its North American tour this fall and rescheduled the shows for the spring of 2008. The band said it wanted to finish some recording and revamp its show.
TickEx also launched the U.S. version of its ticket search engine this week, and pop star Beyonce’s funny luck on her current tour continued when she accidently flashed fans at a concert in Toronto.