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Op-Ed: Live Nation Is Committed To Successful State Fair – by Jim Koplik

Live Nation is proud to be associated with the New York State Fair and is committed to delivering the best talent and strongest marketing support possible for concerts at the fair. We have sold over 85,000 tickets representing the highest ticket sales in the history of the New York State Fair.

This year, gross box office receipts are over $4.4 million, also representing a record. Last year, 66,652 tickets were sold with gross box office receipts for the entire series of $3,576,660.

The team working on this project has over 100 years combined experience promoting concerts in Upstate New York. To replicate the efforts of the eight-person team requires more than filling one or two positions and would cost much more than the amount the New York State Fair paid in-house.

Last year's talent costs totaled $3,464,000. To date, this year's talent costs total $3,395,000. For less money, Live Nation has delivered a lineup that holds the record for the highest sales in state fair history.

We would like to clarify some misconceptions that surround Live Nation's association with the New York State Fair.

Booking: Live Nation's contract with Darien Lake prohibits Live Nation from bidding on any other venues within a specific radius including the Finger Lakes Region. Live Nation did not submit a bid to book the concerts at the Constellation Brands Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua. John Scher's company was not selected over Live Nation.

Live Nation tours: Six of the 11 concerts at the fair are Live Nation Tours Journey, Def Leppard, Brooks & Dunn and ZZ Top, Toby Keith, Jonas Brothers and Rascal Flatts with Taylor Swift. It is likely that the fair would not get these tours if Live Nation wasn't booking the venue.

Artist guarantees: It was reported in an Aug. 10 article that Live Nation was paying Toby Keith and three warm-up acts $500,000. The original guarantee for Keith with special guest Montgomery Gentry was $500,000. Montgomery Gentry is not on the Syracuse date. The total guarantee for Toby Keith with three support acts playing the fair is $400,000. This is in line with all the other fair guarantees and less than what we are paying in Northeast amphitheatres.

Additional information: It was reported in an Aug. 14 Associated Press article the fair agreed to pay Live Nation $165,000 to advertise concerts. Live Nation was given a broadcast budget of $165,000. Live Nation is not being paid any fee for planning and placing advertising. Marketing services, along with talent buying, event management and ticketing are all included in the $6.50 per paid ticket fee.

In addition to media planning, Live Nation negotiated media deals to provide strategically planned and targeted media. Approximately 1,000 additional radio and television commercials aired at no cost (no cash or tickets).

Live Nation has also drastically reduced the number of complimentary tickets and has full documentation for every comp. Last year, a total of 12,743 complimentary tickets were distributed. To date 6,263 comp tickets have been distributed.

The Aug. 14 article also stated that Live Nation was given a rent-free concession where Live Nation can gross an estimated $200,000 in food, beer and wine sales.

After Live Nation pays the fair 25 percent of sales and pays costs associated with labor, product, etc., there will be a small profit for Live Nation far less than $200,000.

Live Nation is committed to making this year's concert series at the fair a success. We have shown a strong commitment to the fair by operating our business with the highest ethical standards. We are available to discuss any points of interest and welcome the opportunity to provide information.