Jacko Does The Math

Michael Jackson’s 10-date run at London’s O2 could pluck him out of negative equity and return him to the lifestyle to which he was previously accustomed, according to The Times.

The math will likely cause a few raised eyebrows among promoters and music biz accountants, but the paper calculated 10 nights at the 22,000-capacity venue at about £70 a ticket will gross £15.4 million ($21.2 million).

Allowing for unspecified costs for venue hire, promotion costs, tax, production and musicians fees, the Times worked out the eccentric star could easily walk away with “several million pounds.”

Although the paper’s show accountant doesn’t appear to have bothered about such things as VAT or PRS, it still points out the long-absent Jacko will earn a further £462,000 in songwriter’s royalties.

These have been calculated at 3 percent of the £15,400,000 gross.

“Then there is the merchandise (T-shirts, tour programmes and other branded goods) and the knock-on effect on album sales. If a leading brand steps in as sponsor, Jackson’s pay cheque could double, given the scale of media attention that the shows will attract,” The Times explained. It also said syndication to TV and spin-off DVD sales will generate significant revenue.

Also struggling with big numbers was the King Of Pop’s official Web site, which couldn’t deal with the thousands of people applying for tickets within minutes of the dates being announced.

A BBC News item detailed how dozens of people hoping to register for the “pre-sale” draw have posted comments on the site’s forum complaining that their applications do not appear to have gone through.

Many say that they have not yet received a confirmation e-mail, while others are baffled that they must sign up to Jackson’s official newsletter to have a chance of getting early tickets.

Tickets go on general sale March 13, but fans can apply for a chance to buy pre-release tickets by registering at MichaelJacksonLive.com or texting “MJ” to 81707.

The sheer number of people desperate to see Jackson’s comeback – and farewell – shows appears to be slowing down the application process.

A spokeswoman for Jackson told the BBC that all the reported problems are being investigated.