Good vs. Great At NY Fair

As New York Fair officials decide who will be the talent buyer for next year’s event, figures show that this year’s promoter, Live Nation, had a successful run but was not as beneficial to the fair as years past.

The fair’s director, Dan O’Hara, came under fire for granting Live Nation a no-bid contract for the 2008 fair. Live Nation proved itself by selling more tickets to fair concerts than any other year in the fair’s history and generated a record $4.6 million in ticket sales.

The fair netted a $245,302 profit from the concerts compared with 2007’s loss of $12,495 when talent buyer Joe LaGuardia was in charge, according to the Post-Standard of Syracuse. O’Hara fired LaGuardia after last year’s fair, then brought in Live Nation.

Although 2008’s figures are better than last year’s, the Post-Standard requested new accounting by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets that recently revealed the fair netted $537,413 in concert profit in 2006, booked by longtime buyer LaGuardia who told the paper he feels vindicated by Ag & Market’s acknowledgment.

“The facts speak for themselves,” he told the paper. “They show the success that we had.”

He added that even factoring in last year’s loss – the only one in his three decades as a fair producer – the average profit for the last two years was higher than Live Nation’s this year.

Meanwhile, Ag & Markets, which runs the fair, requested bids for next year’s talent buyer. It would not identify the sole bidder but the Post-Standard listed several new stipulations the potential buyer must agree to.

The promoter will pay the fair a set dollar amount for each ticket sold and $3 per concert ticket to cover the concertgoer’s admission to the fair.