The area of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena where the officials literally sat in the lap of luxury while watching Springsteen perform his odes to blue-collar workers April 26-27 is cordoned off from the public and not included in any ticket sales, according to the Los Angeles Times, which notes that the cash-strapped venue could have sold the seats for way more than what officials paid for the accommodations.
The area consists of “elevated seats, boxed off from the crowd” that “offered dead-on views of the stage” reported the Times, noting that arena staffers “catered the roost with lasagna, sliders, vegetables and brownies, plus drinks.”
The newspaper is raising the issue mainly because the sports complex made up of the arena and coliseum is very much in the red. The taxpayer-owned venues have lost approximately $7.3 million in recent years and were reportedly down to the last $15,000 in operating funds when Springsteen rolled into town. Further tarnishing the Commission’s reputation are court records documenting that the complex has lost more than $2 million “allegedly siphoned off through embezzlement and kickbacks,” according to the Times.
When the Times started poking into the matter, an attorney for the Commission told the newspaper that the four officials paid approximately $100 per seat.
How much would one of those seats sell for on the open market? As much as $5,000 for each Springsteen show, a “source familiar with local concert promotions” told the Times. And that doesn’t even include the catering tab.
But the seating area in question wasn’t created for Springsteen’s concerts at the Sports Arena. The suite has been around for years, apparently serving as perks for Commission members.
That Commission members feasted in luxury while at a Springsteen concert is rather ironic considering that the artist has often commented publically about his disdain for private box suites and in recent years has chosen to play the Sports Arena because it lacks such high-priced amenities.
One of the Commission members who saw Springsteen while sitting in the luxury seats – L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge – told the Times that the area shouldn’t be called a “suite” and described it more as a “carpeted closet.” However, in response to the reporter’s questions, LaBonge conceded that the Coliseum’s interim general manager had removed the “suite” sign that adorned the door to the area shortly before the newspaper’s representatives arrived at the venue.
Even though he passed on the catered eats, LaBonge, who brought three guests, evidently enjoyed the primo seating for Springsteen.
“I came because I wanted to have a little fun,” La Bonge told the Times. “And Bruce Springsteen is inspirational.”