Entertainment

Michael Jackson trial: AEG witness talks concert venue capacity

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

During the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial on Tuesday, AEG Live questioned the star's ability to pull in concertgoers. The defense called John Meglen, co-CEO of Concerts West, to the stand.

According to Meglen, the king of pop could draw a crowd, but nothing like projected by Katherine Jackson's legal team. Meglen attacked figures presented last week by CPA Arthur Erk. The Jackson witness had testified that the singer potentially could have made between $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion.

Erk's numbers were based on filling stadiums to capacity. Meglen testified that concerts in stadiums provide fewer seats because of space needed for the stage and lights, among other factors. It makes a difference in the bottom line, he explained.

The plaintiffs said Jackson fans could fill these stadiums with an average capacity of 72,000. Meglen says the actual number for a concert event would be about 49,000, a 30-percent difference.

The plaintiffs' estimate for the Rose Bowl was about 92,000. Meglen testified that capacity for AEG concerts there was about 59,000, again a 30-percent difference.

The numbers are important in this case if the jury should have to decide on economic damages to be awarded to Katherine Jackson and Michael Jackson's three children.

Jackson attorney Brian Panish rebutted the figures. He said concerts had been staged at the Rose Bowl with a capacity crowd of 97,000 people based on a report from Billboard Magazine.

Meglen said he didn't believe the figures. Billboard's numbers are often inflated, he testified.

The Jackson attorneys claimed a Jackson theme show in Las Vegas would have earned $269 million. Meglen estimated $60 million, and only if it ran for 10 years.

The central question of the lawsuit was also raised. The plaintiffs allege that AEG hired Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death.

Under cross examination by Panish, Meglen testified that it is not uncommon for producers to hire doctors for artists and that AEG had done it for the Rolling Stones and Celine Dion. But Meglen went on to explain that doctors are not hired without the approval of the artist.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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legal, celebrity, court case, entertainment, miriam hernandez
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