Students are always getting scolded for losing their homework, but it isn’t too often that you hear about them getting knocked for losing nearly $1 million.
Despite its name, turnout for the Last Smash Platinum Bash, a student-sponsored concert featuring Jay-Z, Kelly Clarkson, Third Eye Blind and The Veronicas at the University of Arizona’s stadium in Tucson, was less than golden.
In fact, the April 29 concert – the first at the football stadium in more than 30 years – left the university’s Associated Student government more than $900,000 in the red, according to the school’s Daily Wildcat.
The event cost $1.42 million total, but the ASUA made only about $500,000 on tickets and merchandise, the paper said.
Jay-Z was reportedly paid $750,000 for his performance.
Outgoing ASUA President Tommy Bruce chalked up the loss to the economy, explaining the organization had “exhausted every avenue” in its attempt to sell 30,000 tickets to the show, for which planning began last year.
“Nobody predicted the economy would be the way it is now last May,” he told the paper. “The economy was getting worse, but we had already committed to doing a show.”
In the end, the ASUA reported that 11,500 people had attended the show, but only 6,100 of those were paid tickets, some of which cost as much as $200. The organization reportedly handed out nearly 5,000 tickets in newspaper, radio and student government promotions.
The student organization will apply its entire $350,000 budget reserve along with a loan from the university’s book store to cover the loss, which will be paid back over a five-year period, the Daily Wildcat reported.
While the event was largely considered an epic failure, it looks like Chris Nagata, the incoming president for the organization, has plans to give concert promoting the old college try once again next year – just not stadium-size shows.
“We’ll look for different ways so that we’re not taking as big a financial risk,” he told the paper.