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Report: NJ Gave Concert Promoters $3M in Rebates

Flickr User Doug Kerr

New Jersey has given away millions in legal rebates to concert promoters in an effort to entice them to have their acts play at the Meadowlands, according to a published report.

The Star-Ledger of Newark reported Wednesday that the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority has given $3.3 million to promoters over a five-year period. Most of that money went to Live Nation, the nation’s largest concert promoter.

Details on the agreements were contained in contracts recently released by the sports authority under a court order after the newspaper sued to gain access.

The contracts showed that Live Nation received a rebate of between $4 and $6 per ticket on shows it books into the Izod Center arena at the Meadowlands.

The rebates aren’t illegal, but some refer to them as kickbacks that show the extent to which large promoters control the booking process.

The incentives can include allowing promoters to get a large chunk of concession revenues. According to the report, a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus contract from 2007 gave the circus the exclusive right to sell Sno-Cones, cotton candy and other treats.

“You want Ringling Bros., we get the Sno-Cones,” promoter John Scher, CEO of Metropolitan Talent in New York, told the newspaper. “If you don’t want it, we won’t play there. And I’ve seen the circus go head-on and just not play (certain) arenas.”

Sports authority officials told the newspaper the agreements have resulted in more shows at the Meadowlands and that the state has never lost money on a concert.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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