The first concert in Arizona Stadium since 1977 lost nearly $1 million.
The Last Smash Platinum Bash, which featured Jay-Z and Kelly Clarkson, ended up $917,000 in the red. The concert cost $1,420,000, and ticket and merchandise sales brought in only $503,502, according to student organizers.
Tommy Bruce, outgoing president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, blamed the event’s struggles on the economy.
“Nobody predicted the economy would be the way it is now last May,” he said.
The contract for Jay-Z, who was paid $750,000, was signed March 24.
The ASUA will apply its entire emergency budget reserve — $350,000 — to help cover the shortfall.
The rest will come from the UA BookStores, which has been sharing a portion of its revenues to support the ASUA since the 1930s.
That means less money for the ASUA over the next five years.
How much less? This year, the BookStores shared about $530,000 of their revenue with the student group. For each of the next five years that amount will be reduced by $114,000.
Incoming ASUA president Chris Nagata, who was sworn in on Friday, said that ASUA would continue to have concerts, but maybe not in the football stadium.
“We’ll look for different ways so that we’re not taking as big a financial risk,” he said.
All told, ASUA sold 6,100 tickets to the Bash and gave away about 4,400 tickets as part of marketing deals with local radio stations and newspapers. The Star received 18 tickets.
Roughly 1,000 tickets were given away to students who demonstrated the ability to sing a Kelly Clarkson song, or passed other equally inane tests administered on the mall on the day of the show.
For his part, Jay-Z said he had a good time, even if he never imagined he’d share a bill with Clarkson.
The hip-hop icon expressed his pleasure with the show on the Web site Rap Radar.
“I thought that to be the oddest pairing EVER but, soon realized, it's what I've always professed..There is NO such thing as BLACK music or WHITE music only GOOD or BAD music,” he wrote.
Frank Farias, Director of UA BookStores, emphasized that the money going to the ASUA to cover the cost of the concert will come from an existing emergency fund, and that the cost of books will not go up as a result.