‘Magnifico’ May Do Less Harm In Vienna

The collapse of the entertainment show “Magnifico” may not have the same negative impact on the Austrian market as it will likely have in Germany, as a number of ticket-buyers may be able to regain their money immediately.

After Germany’s Art Concerts was taken down by the failure of its “Ben Hur Live” show in 2010, Andreas Egger of Oeticket – the Austrian leg of CTS Eventim – extended a “payback guarantee” the company already ran to protect ticket buyers against missing a show for almost any reason, from illness and public transport failure to natural disasters including floods and earthquakes.

The optional payback plan acted like insurance and put less than 5 percent on the ticket price. By increasing the premium to 5.5 percent, Egger was able to extend the coverage to promoters and show producers going bust.

“We call it a payback guarantee as we are providing this service in our own name and at our own risk,” he explained. “We are not an insurance company, so we are not allowed to call it insurance.”

Egger says he expects that about 10 percent of the estimated 10,000 tickets sold for 60 shows beginning in November in a 2,000-capacity tent in Vienna were covered against “Magnifico” tanking.

The other Austrian ticket-holders and an estimated 30,000 in Germany will need to wait on what Munich-based insolvency expert Pohlmann Hofmann says about the production running out of money.

Magnifico Circus GmbH & Co., the company behind the show, filed for insolvency at the district court in Munich July 19.

International promoter Marcel Avram insists he’s not closely involved with the project, but show creator André Heller said just the opposite in an interview with German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche.

Avram also lists “Magnifico” as one of his 2011 tours on his personal website.

He says his only role has been to supervise Magnifico’s backers, and that Pohlmann Hofmann is “looking for new investors to keep this show alive.”

The vast majority of the tickets for Magnifico were sold by CTS Eventim.

Facing a similar situation at the end of 2006 with the collapse of Austrian and Balkan promoter Rock & More, he looked at the possibility of Dieter Semmelmann and Marek Lieberberg – two of the promoters from Eventim’s co-owned Medusa Group – stepping in to try to keep R&M’s shows in the diary.

Lieberberg has already expressed his concern about the negative effect on consumer confidence that will result from having about 30,000 Magnifco ticket-holders in the dark as to whether they’ll ever get their money back.

Meanwhile the official receiver is faced with the disposal of a show that had sold less than 10 percent of its capacity in Vienna.

Heller is Austrian and something of a national superstar.

“Afrika! Afrika!” the last of his creations to visit the country, attracted 180,000 people to its first run in Vienna. It sold 800,000 tickets in Austria within two years.