SYRACUSE, N.Y. (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The New York State Fair has broken its previous box office revenue record set back in 2007 for its annual summer "Best Buy" concert series after bringing promoter Live Nation aboard to help. According to the Associated Press, as of Tuesday, ticket revenue had broken the $3,700,000 mark.
What's more, this feat was accomplished in spite of the fact that ticket prices for this year's events are at the lowest they have been in four years with an average price of $41.92.
Despite these facts, not everyone is happy about the current state of affairs. The controversy stems from the way in which Live Nation was brought aboard.
According to the Syracuse Post Standard, Live Nation's involvement with the fair state after long-time employee, Joe LaGuardia, who had handled booking for the fair, announced he was leaving. The Fair needed to start booking acts for the 2008 season and after the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, which oversees the fair described the situation as an "emergency," the state's comptroller allowed them to bypass the state's competitive bidding requirements to sign with Live Nation.
According to the Post Standard, LaGuardia was forced out after his 2007 lineup lost the fair some $500,000. The paper also asserts that Live Nation's no-bid deal gives the promoter approximately twice the going industry rate for such an arrangment and that it paid some artists who it was working on behalf of, significantly more for booking.
If Live Nation's approach pays off and proves a profitable venture for the fair this year remains to be seen but the State's comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli has already stated that he intends to require a conventional bidding process for booking operations after 2008 and that the process will be "thoroughly scrutinized" by his office. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers