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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Concert loses almost $1 million (6:30 p.m. update)

    Following the Jay-Z concert last week, ASUA officials were quick to call the show a raging success. They pocketbooks may beg to differ.

    The sparsely attended concert lost the student government more than $900,000.

    The $1.4 million show sponsored by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona generated just more than $500,000 in revenue, through ticket sales and merchandising, revealed outgoing ASUA President Tommy Bruce earlier today.

    Bruce partially blamed the downturn in the economy for the concert’s low attendance, saying that when preliminary plans were made for the show starting last May, the economy had not yet shown severe signs of financial loss.

    “”Nobody predicted the economy would be the way it is now last May,”” Bruce said. “”The economy was getting worse, but we had already committed to doing a show.””

    In order to offset the loss, ASUA must empty out the entire $350,000 from its emergency reserve fund. This still leaves the student government with $567,000 to cover, which it will do via an agreement with the UA Bookstore. ASUA will pay the bookstore back in increments over the next five years.

    Under ASUA’s current agreement with the bookstore-which is re-evaluated every five years-the student government receives about $530,000 of the bookstore’s revenue. That number will drop by $114,000 over the next five years, Frank Farias, director of the UA Bookstore.

    The financial relationship between the bookstore and ASUA began in the 1930s on the heels of an Arizona Supreme Court decision, Farias said.

    Although having a 17,000-person capacity on the west side of the venue, Arizona Stadium only held a maximum of 11,500 spectators at one time during the show, Bruce said.

    ASUA sold a total of $6,100, with about 5,000 more given away from newspaper, radio and student government promotions.

    “”We exhausted every avenue,”” Bruce said. “”At the end of the day, the revenue did not meet the expenses.””

    Bruce stressed that no tuition or fee dollars have been or will be used to cover the losses from the concert.

    The lead up to such a large-scale concert began four years ago, with ASUA slowly building up its reputation through smaller shows until they had proven they could handle a big-time concert, Bruce said.

    “”You have to prove yourself in the industry,”” he said. “”There’s a lot to be learned about what we’ve done.””

    Despite the financial losses, Bruce still called the concert a success, as it can be used as a retention and recruitment tool for the university, Bruce said.

    Besides providing students with an entertaining show with prominent names, the university now knows a football stadium concert venue is viable, he added.

    It was Arizona Stadium’s first show since Fleetwood Mac visited the UA campus in 1977.

    In the wake of a high six-figure loss, ASUA is still looking to continue a tradition of bringing big name artists to campus next year, although the focus will be on a more fiscally sound approach, said incoming ASUA President Chris Nagata.

    “”It’s not an ideal situation,”” Nagata said. “”But we’ll make the best of it and move forward from here.””

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