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Cost of Lady Gaga's tour cancellation could exceed $30 million

By Steve Knopper
Rolling Stone

Lady Gaga's canceled Born This Way Ball -- which was set to run 22 more nights at arenas through March 20 -- will lead to nearly $30 million in refunds, according to estimates based on Pollstar data. And that's not counting the huge potential income losses from merchandise, food, beer and parking sales. "It was definitely a blow," says Bernie Punt, sales and marketing director for the Bryce Jordan Center at Pennsylvania State University, which had nearly sold out its 12,500 capacity for Gaga's March 2 gig. "Trust me, I've been hearing nothing for the past 48 hours of so many saddened fans that were looking forward to this. Everybody bought those tickets for Christmas or Hanukkah gifts."

Bing: Lady Gaga injured

Gaga announced on Tuesday that she was forced to cancel all remaining dates on the tour due to a labral tear to her right hip, which will require surgery. Her world tour in 2012 had grossed $161.4 million, according to Pollstar, behind only Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters and Coldplay; her early dates this year had consistently sold out between roughly 9,000 and 15,000 tickets at each U.S. arena. As pop star injuries go, this wasn't as devastating as Bono's back surgery before a U2 tour in 2010 -- but Gaga's tour, at least so far, has been completely canceled rather than postponed, so the revenue is gone.

"It's such a huge disappointment," says Alipa Patel, marketing and communications manager for Copps Coliseum, where Gaga canceled this weekend's show in Hamilton, Ontario. "It's pretty marquee for a city like Hamilton to get a Lady Gaga. We've had a lot of big names come through, like Bruce Springsteen and Elton John, but with Lady Gaga being so current, it was really something that was going to put us on the map."

Neither Gaga nor her promoter, Live Nation, are likely to fully absorb the financial losses on their own: The cancellations were due to doctor's orders, so insurance would almost certainly kick in. (Gaga's agent and manager, as well as Live Nation reps, declined to comment for this story.) Jordan Center's Punt, though, notes that his advertising costs won't be recouped. The Gaga show was announced last fall during a Penn State home football game of 100,000 fans, a rarity on campus.

"Really the biggest loss is opportunity," says Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of Pollstar. "She's hot right now, and she has to sit on the sidelines. It's hard to predict what the real impact's going to be."

More stories from Rollingstone.com:
Sound City players arrive on 'Letterman' 
Crystal Bowersox gets in 'Stitches' with Jakob Dylan
Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi plans album with Queen's Brian May

112Comments
Feb 16, 2013 11:31PM
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Let's hope it's a permanent disability, and the idiots who are her fans will have to find a useful activity.  
Feb 16, 2013 9:56PM
Feb 16, 2013 9:44PM
Feb 16, 2013 8:36PM
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Not like she nor the promoters will lose anything...  after all the insurance will kick in so the loser is the insurance company.  I for one do not care for today's kind of music and the way this performers dress; well I will not say anymore on that.  These performers are the idols of children and teenagers.  Maybe

for the time she is unable to perform parents can now have their children who are fans of her do

something better; after all they now have the free time.

Feb 16, 2013 6:53PM
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so what, its not like she is madonna. then it would be something people care about.

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