While fans wait for money for canceled concerts at the Nassau Coliseum, officials say it is the company’s responsibility run by a Russian oligarch who had run the venue.
This year, Joanne Brakatselos, a rock fan from Queens, spent just over $ 1,000 on tickets to six concerts. Since those events were postponed and canceled due to the coronavirus, he has gotten his money back for each show during the months.
Ms. Brakatselos is among thousands of fans awaiting reimbursement for Tool and Judas Priest shows at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum. This affair has started to gain attention and point fingers behind the scenes of the music industry.
For consumers like Brakatselos, who paid $ 356.70 for two tickets to see Tool, getting those refunds was a frustrating exercise. Since June, when the group’s show was canceled, she has been back and forth between Ticketmaster and the Colosseum countless times to no avail.
The venue’s ticket office has repeatedly asked for her patience, saying it was working on the problem. In contrast, Ticketmaster said it was waiting for money from the “event organizer,” according to emails and other messages Ms. Brakatselos he shared with the New York Times.
“Both sides are pointing, and I’m a monkey in the middle,” said Ms. Brakatselos in an interview.
But Nassau County, which owns the Colosseum, says the repayments’ responsibility lies with the site’s former leaseholder – a company run by Russian billionaire investor Mikhail Prokhorov.
“Under the county lease, the termination of repayments is up to the tenant directly,” a spokeswoman for the Nassau County Executive, Laura Curran, said in a statement. The county addressed further questions to Mr. Prokhorov’s company, Onexim Sports and Entertainment, which retained the lease for the arena until August when a Nassau County brokered deal transferred it to an investor who had funded the recent renovations to the 48-year-old building.
(Under this agreement, the investor, U.S. Immigration Fund – which is not affiliated with the federal government – paid over $ 2 million Onexim owed the county in rent arrears.)
Mr. Prokhorov, who earned his fortune on metals through the privatization of former Soviet Union assets in the 1990s, is well known as the Barclays Center’s former owner and the Brooklyn Nets. It is worth $ 11.3 billion, according to Forbes, and most recently invested in reality.
Ticketmaster’s exposure to refund requests is also uncertain. The company informs its customers that it will reimburse all canceled shows in approximately 30 days. But the end of the coronavirus has dealt a severe economic blow to Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment; The company reported that its revenues for the second quarter of this year fell 98% compared to the same period in 2019.
In a statement, Ticketmaster merely said it is “currently waiting” for the Nassau Events Center to transfer the ticketing funds “so that we can pass refunds to the fans.”
Besides the canceled Tool and Judas Priest shows, several other events on the arena’s schedule this year, including those of Elton John and Michael Bublé, have been moved to 2021 2022. According to Ticketmaster’s typical business arrangements, these shows’ ticket money was also reportedly transferred to Mr. Prokhorov’s company.
The New York Islanders and the National Hockey League team long associated with the Colosseum canceled six home games due to the pandemic. According to the team’s information, refunds for those tickets have been paid to the fans.
In the spring, when all the tours were off the track, the prospect of billions of dollars in potential ticket refunds became a burning issue for the concert industry and a meeting point for frustrated fans. But in May, much of that problem was solved when Live Nation and AEG, the two companies that dominate the tours, announced a refund policy.
In August, Live Nation said it had processed $ 695 million in refunds through June and expected to pay an additional $ 270 million in the coming months. About two-thirds of that total, the company said, is for events organized by Live Nation itself. (Ticketmaster also sells tickets on behalf of thousands of other customers.)
But the global touring market, estimated at over $ 20 billion, includes far more players than just Live Nation and AEG, and complaints from fans about non-refunds or unresponsive venues appear on social media.