The Arizona Desert Lamp

The Veronicas Contract

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 20 October 2009

Veronica_167Last and, well, probably least, we have the Veronicas. Their contract, worth $20,000, can be read here [PDF], and is the shortest of all the contracts.

There’s not a whole lot else to say, so here’s a heartwarming litigation story from Wikipedia:

However, some believe that Archie Comics character Veronica Lodge had some influence on the naming, including people at Archie Comics themselves, who launched legal action against the group for trademark infringement.[7] A settlement was reached that included a cross-promotion deal, including an appearance in an issue of their namesake Veronica’s comic book. The issue (#167) featured a card with a code allowing a free download of their single “4ever” in MP3 form. A few months later, Archie and Friends (#100) featured The Archies meeting The Veronicas. The next issue of Archie and Friends (#101) also featured The Veronicas, with Archie as their biggest fan. They also starred in one episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

The contracts for Kelly Clarkson, Third Eye Blind, and Jay-Z can be read at the respective links.


The Jay-Z Contract

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 15 October 2009

Jay-Z, hoodedWe’ve fallen off the contract-uploading bandwagon, but at long last here is the $750,000, flat-fee contract [PDF] for Jay-Z . The contract guaranteeing Jay-Z (represented by Live Nation) was finalized on March 24, and ASUA wasted no time in spreading the good news.

Some of you have probably already seen Jay-Z’s rider, some of which has been available at the Smoking Gun, and there’s really not much else outside of what has already been covered. One item of interest is that while the other three contracts were drawn up by the UA/ABOR, Live Nation authored this contract. Seeing how both parties have to agree on the final terms, this probably doesn’t make that much of a difference; at the same time, it does give a sense of who was in the driver’s seat during these negotiations.

Jay-Z might have cost us a pretty penny, but cheer up – our loss is America’s gain! Since Jay-Z had such a great time on the dime of your student government, he’s decided to share the love with college towns across the country:

Just in case Jay-Z wasn’t enough, hip-hop fans now have three more very good reasons to snatch up tickets for Hova’s tour this fall: N.E.R.D, Wale, and J. Cole, who have just been announced as supporting acts for the 24-date jaunt, kicking off October 9 in State College, PA!

10/9, State College, PA (Penn State/Bryce Jordan Center)
10/10, Cincinnati, OH (N Kentucky U/Bank of Kentucky Center)
10/13, Edmonton, AB (Rexall Place)
10/14, Calgary, AB (Pengrowth Saddledome)
10/15, Kelowna, BC (Prospera Place)
10/16, Vancouver, BC (General Motors Place)
10/17, Seattle, WA (KeyArena)
10/21, Ypsilanti, MI (Eastern Michigan U/Convocation Center)
10/23, Philadelphia, PA (Wachovia Center/Powerhouse)
10/24, Providence, RI (Dunkin Donuts Center)
10/25, Amherst, MA (U of Mass/Mullins Center)
10/27, Baltimore, MD (1st Mariner Arena)
10/28, Columbus, OH (Ohio State/Value City Arena the Schottenstein Center)
10/29, London, ON (John Labatt Centre)
10/30, Montreal, QC (Bell Centre)
10/31, Toronto, ON (Air Canada Centre)
11/1, Ottawa, ON (Scotiabank Place)
11/7, Fresno, CA (Fresno State/Save Mart Center)
11/12, Champaign, IL (University of Illinois/Assembly Hall)
11/19, Albuquerque, NM (Tingley Coliseum)
11/20, El Paso, TX (U of Texas at El Paso/Don Haskins Ctr)
11/21, Lubbock, TX (United Spirit Arena)
11/22, Austin, TX (U of Texas at Austin/Frank Erwin Center)

Cammoile Tea and CLEAN ice: The Third Eye Blind Contract

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 18 September 2009

Third Eye BlindNext up in the concert contract info-dump is Third Eye Blind, who first signed their contract [PDF] with the University on February 4th. Like Kelly Clarkson, the group received a flat guarantee, this time to the tune of $85,000. There are also mildly amusing typos and emphases, along with this ridiculous preamble to the band’s rider:

If certain items seem unreasonable to you, please realize that we don’t ask for what we don’t need. We hope to put on a kick A#$ show! Here’s to having breakfast ready and the phones in place first thing in the morning! We really look forward to bringing this tour to your city …


The contract itself indicates a sweeping change in the University’s attitude towards tickets, replacing the flat $29.95 ticket with a tiered model:

Sec Noice Section (VIP Experience Tickets): 394 tickets @ $150.75 per ticket.

VIP: 1,000 tickets @ $100.75

Reserved 1: 5,000 tickets @ $95.75

Reserved 2: 4,000 tickets @ $89.75

Reserved 3: 4,000 tickets @ $79.75

Reserved 4: 1,000 tickets @ $67.75

Reserved 5: 500 tickets @ $49.75

Reserved 6: 500 tickets @ $37.75

This estimate reduces the total tickets sold from 24,000 to 16,394, but almost exactly doubles the potential revenue from $714,000 to $1,428,395.50.

At this point, one has to wonder exactly what else the Last Smash team was looking for. It’s not quite Lollapalooza, but by February the organizers had inked Kelly Clarkson, a fairly solid headliner, and Third Eye Blind, a group with enough of a nostalgic niche to draw a solid crowd. A concert featuring these two artists, along with a few smaller scale artists appealing to the college set (MC Lars immediately comes to mind), is a big deal.

Such a concert, however, would not be so appealing at a $50 or more a ticket. (For comparison’s sake, here are some  ticket prices for upcoming shows at the Rialto: $20, Ghostface Killah; $35, Pitbull; $25, Colbie Caillat; $22-27, Hanson (!!!); $27, Sonic Youth. ) To justify such an expense, the stadium concert would need to have something bigger. Like Ahab seeking his whale, President Bruce – the driving force behind this project – needed this show to be something the UA would remember long after his tenure. Ironically enough, in this task he was more successful than he could have ever anticipated.

Disani Water, Gaterrade, and $175,000 – The Kelly Clarkson contract

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 15 September 2009

Kelly Clarkson AlbumEven as ASUA attempts to erase the memory of That Event Whose Name Shall Not Be Said, the writers here at the Lamp still don’t feel that all of its questions have been answered (even if they probably never will). Shain did a great job of documenting demands for good-quality grape jelly and foldable toothbrushes, but the Lamp‘s got an incurable obsession with primary sources (thanks a lot, high school history). As a result, in our hands are the four contracts signed by the performing artists. As time permits, we’ll be scanning these and uploading them for public consumption.

First up is Kelly Clarkson, whose 18-page contract can be viewed here [PDF]. Unfortunately, the first page is a real pain to read – and the scan of the copy of a fax of scan is probably worse, so apologies for that. Some quick notes to clarify the patchy text:

– The contract was first signed on December 15, 2008, making Clarkson the first artist that the UA inked in. (Changes were made up until the finalized contract was signed on April 23, due in part to the addition of new artists and the subsequent changes in the show.)

– The original estimate (under section 4) for the concert promised the sale of 24,000 tickets, at flat ticket price of $29.75 (although a note at the bottom explains that, “Ticket prices range from $29.95 to $89.95,” these prices were not used to estimate gross ticket revenue). By the time of the Third Eye Blind contract (originally signed February 4, 2009), this model was quickly replaced with a tiered system to maximize revenue.

– The April 29 concert date – criticized by several in the aftermath of the event – was one of the few provisions that remained unchanged.

-Ms. Clarkson was guaranteed $175,000 for her services.

The rest of the document should be pretty easy reading, “Gatterade” and “Disani” aside. There’s a lot of good stuff in there, but my personal favorite is this amendment to the UA’s rider:


ASUA Meeting, 26 Aug 09: Debtors’ Jailhouse Rock

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 27 August 2009

1. Summer Update – a Monty Python-esque “I’m not dead yet!” reminder. Just about all the programs that you know and love – ASA, club resources, FCC, etc. – will continue operations. A few bullet-point notes of interest:

-The town hall idea still straggles along, striving for relevancy. The first one will be held September 16, 4-5 PM in the Kiva Room.

-ASUA will now be focusing the charity efforts of all its programs and services towards a single institution, which this year will be the Diamond Children’s Medical Center.

-ZonaZoo will be implementing some version of the point-rewards system that Sen. Nick Macchiarolli proposed last year. The details are still in the works, and won’t be revealed until ZonaZoo’s own press conference, but the impression is that rather than determining access on the basis of other events (i.e. students that attend non-major sports events have preferred access), attendance at these ‘Olympic sports’ will simply be entered in a drawing for a prize.

2. “Revolving Door” in 40 different languages. Jason Ernst, former ASUA senator, was unanimously approved as director of Wildcat World Fair.

3. Budget Blues. Treasurer Clifton Harris’ presentation on the budget was the obvious highlight of the meeting, and all the professional sheen in the world couldn’t cover up the damage. ASUA is highly fortunate to have received a $900,000 5-year interest-free loan – again, something to remember when you’re standing in line at the bookstore. The biggest cuts came out of Special Events (83 percent), followed by the operations budget and the executive operations accounts. It may seem obvious that special events should be dramatically reduced (if not eliminated) in light of last year. But common-sense is rare in government, and should be commended when it surfaces.

It should also be noted that ASUA now receives a full 21 percent of its funding from student fees.

Rainy-Day Wars. Most of the debate, however, revolved around the executive operations accounts. These accounts are discretionary stop-gap funds that can be spent or transferred in the event of an “emergency” or funds shortfall – the most commonly cited examples were three separate $1,000 withdrawals from President Bruce’s account, which were used to pay for buses, pizza, and t-shirts at last year’s DETHFEST. (which belies further the myth that ASA is somehow “independent” of ASUA, even though the ASUA President appoints all representatives of the UA, which are cabinet members, etc.) In effect, these function as mini-rainy-day funds.

Even though the operations budgets were reduced from $9,000 to $7,000 for each of the three executives (the treasurer has a $3,000 operations budget, and the Chief of Staff gets $2,000, but it’s unclear how these compares to years past), Sen. Daniel Wallace openly questioned why these accounts existed in the first place, moving to separate them from the rest of the budget. The measure passed unanimously, and the budget sans executive operations passed unanimously as well.

This led us to the War of the Wallaces. In one corner stood Daniel Wallace, strongly opposed to the current accounts. At the very least, he argued, the itemized budgets of these accounts should be looked over, to get a better sense of what the money is being spent on and how much is actually being spent. He was skeptical of “giving one person total control of $7,000, especially with our budget as tight as it is,” and thought that the discretionary funds needed to be more transparent before granting approval.

In the other corner sat Stephen Wallace, grizzled old lion of the Senate floor, offering a full-throated defense of the technocracy. “We’re not taking into account the experience of the treasurer… I’m a physiology major – I don’t feel comfortable making a decision about this. With our credentials, I don’t believe that anyone can do it better than Treasurer Harris.” This sounds familiar. At the end of the meeting, after casting the lone dissenting vote against tabling the debate until next meeting, William Wallace burst through the glass, face covered in blue, screaming “FREEDOM!” and bearing an axe Stephen Wallace expressed his discontent. “I was disappointed … I love you all to death, but I do not agree with what the decision was.”

Joining him in general opposition to Daniel Wallace’s scrutiny were Sen. Yamaguchi (who thought that overly controlling the funds would be inefficient). Meanwhile, Sen. James Brooks cautiously supported looking over expenditures from previous years.

(A lengthy aside here on the use – or should I say, abuse – of the term “checks and balances,” which was inserted throughout the meeting as though the Senate were playing some wonky version of the meow game. The term ‘checks and balances’ refers to a system of government, rather a measurement of powers within a government. For example, when the President has discretion over his operations budget, that’s not “one checks & balances.” If anything, it would be “one check,” but even that misses the point. In such a system, various powers that be are “checked” and “balanced” against each other – it is a system of antagonism, rather than a list of steps. It’s an easy confusion to make, given the “How a Bill Becomes a Law” catechism that is taught, but the primary point of such a system is cast powers against one another, rather than to provide a bureaucratic how-to list. It’s political philosophy, not process.)

Ersatz fiscal conservatism is no new thing to ASUA (see cards, safety), but this could very well be the real deal.

As for the issue: it’s probably a bit risky to entirely void discretionary accounts, although there’s no indication that anyone wants to do this. The bigger issue – which Sen. Atjian started to hint at – was the weird separation of the funds, dividing them in five different zones. In part, this is because they have different jurisdictions; thus, Presidential funds were used to fund ASA’s vacay, because ASA is part of the President’s cabinet. But based on this provided chart, it seems to represent a more bizarre division amongst ASUA:

ASUA Organizational Chart

In most American style democracies, the President is the chief executive, and the vice president(s) is the second-in-command, directly under the President. But this diagram shows the President and the two vice-presidents all serve at the same level, serving “ASUA” as though it were some sort of juche.  This is more reminiscent of a Roman triumvirate, with each executive doled out its zone of influence. (Yet this kind of exposes the absurdity of the non-elected operations budgets – while they have certain needs, there’s no reason those can’t be allocated directly from the President.)

This could just be a bad diagram, but it could also show how exactly ASUA sees itself. So the Senate should be livid – livid! – when it is depicted as a division of “Club Resources,” under the jurisdiction of the Executive Vice President. Any self-respecting branch of government should assert its own control – its own “check” on executive power, if you will – which brings us back to the operations budgets.

Perhaps all of these funds are needed over the course of the year, but at any given time there is no need for more than $2,000, say (again, itemized budgets of years past – and as AVP Ziccarelli was right to point out, for several years past – would help in this regard). The rest of the funds would then be placed in the Senate’s own operations budget – or, at any rate, its general budget. When any of the executives ran low on funds, they would have to come to the Senate to request the transfer.

The purpose of all this is to restore the Senate with that essentially legislative power of the purse. It’s a power that has somewhat been removed from the body, mostly with the institution of the unelected appropriations board (A sort of bizarre synthesis of pre-17th amendment Senate and the Council of Zion, made weirder by the fact that the elected body partly “checks” the decisions of the unelected body, rather than vice versa). If the Senate wants to be a relevant entity, it could do worse than transfer spending authority from the executive branch to itself.

Random Notes:

-The Sustainability Committee presented today, describing an internship with course credit (see Connor for why this is not the best idea), the plan to reduce ZonaZoo’s carbon footprint, and the implementation of “community gardens” at the dorms.

-ZonaZoo will be hosting a “ZonaZoo Power Hour.” In light of recent posts here, I fail to see how such a program doesn’t encourage binge drinking to a greater degree than any colored “fan cans.” Is it unreasonable to suggest that a student previously unaware of the proper ‘power hour’ would be introduced to the idea at the event? And, the idea having been planted, is it unreasonable to suggest that said student would be intrigued by this idea and try an actual power hour?

Which is not to say that this activity should be banned or renamed – in fact, your author’s only disappointment is that it’s somewhat false advertising. Yet if ‘fan cans’ and other such promotions “encourage underage and binge drinking,” then administrators who want to avoid hypocrisy are obligated to stop this event.

-ASUA has a Twitter, opening up a world of hashtag possibilities. We also have a Twitter, which has been utilized to provide information (with a dash of snark) from the scene.

t’s probably a bit risky to entirely void discretionary accounts

Last Smash Platinum Bash – $1.2 million in the red.

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 26 August 2009

In contrast to debut meetings in the past, this year’s greenhorn legislators were granted a baptism by fire, thanks to the mess left by last year’s crew. A full report is forthcoming; the skinny, though, is that ASUA is broke. President Nagata opted to push the budget this meeting, far earlier than usual, and to include the budget in the agenda in the name of transparency. The key graph:

ASUA Budget Graf

Those who wondered openly how it could get worse – this is your answer. The rest of the agenda, which includes details about the upcoming budget, can – and should – be accessed here [PDF].

Welfare Wednesday Fun Fact No. 7 – BIZARRO edition

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 6 May 2009

Services Fee Picture, InvertedThis is the last Welfare Wednesday of the semester, and in celebration of this heavily subsidized lunch, we’ll turn our usual formula on its head:

This past weekend, it was announced that ASUA lost $917,000 on its Last Smash Platinum Bash concert. With the money lost on this event, ASUA could have paid for $3 lunches on three new days – Tax-and-Spend Thursday, Food Stamp Friday, and Subsidy Saturday. What’s more, with the $167,000 leftover, they could have picked up the cost of the entire Collegiate Readership Progam ($152,228), and spent the rest on dinners with ex-Presidents.

Students to ASUA: “WTF? Where’s the funding?”

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 4 May 2009

How Not to Get Money in a RecessionThe official Poverty Bash numbers are in, and it’s ugly. From the Star:

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.

. . .

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.

There’s not really any way to spin this, and ASUA doesn’t really try:

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.

This site can resemble a broken record when it comes to transparency, but here again is a case where more transparency might have helped ASUA. Bruce was insistent on keeping the concert super-secret throughout the planning process, ensuring that by the time the event was actually announced, students were already reeling from the effects of the economy. Had even a broad framework of the plan been released in the fall semester – something like “ASUA to host concert at Arizona Stadium” – students might have been able to anticipate the event, rather than being blindsided post-spring break.

All of this is incidental to Bruce’s main point, which has a bit of merit to it. Yet it’s curious how little sympathy he has had for this argument in the past, when it was coming from the state legislature. After all, they’ve been dealing with the economic downturn a bit themselves:

The Legislature’s budget staff announced Wednesday that its projection for the current $9.9 billion budget’s shortfall is now nearly $1.6 billion, up from $1.2 billion previously.

Budget director Richard Stavneak announced the increase during a briefing for lawmakers on the scope of the state’s budget woes. Legislators are contemplating cuts in most state programs.

When such cuts were proposed, President Bruce replied, “WTF? Where’s the funding?” Now, the tables have been turned:

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.

As a direct result of this master plan it will be the students, whether they be seeking club funding or the services that ASUA provides, who will be wondering where the money has gone. Meanwhile, the crowned Dauphin Nagata serves as a more ideologically agreeable Brewer figure – just as Napolitano spent and spent, leaving Brewer to pay the bills, so Bruce will leave Nagata will a rather neutered ASUA. Perhaps Nagata will be tempted to blame his former master for troubles down the road? Whatever happens, there’s enough irony here that Saraswati might come on down to Tucson and shower goodwill on all of us – and by good will, I mean G&Ts (it’s summertime. . .).

It’s not all bad news, though. From an intra-ASUA perspective, the association won’t be spending as prolifigately as they have, and will instead have to focus on more marginal matters – some of which will be related to good governance. From an external perspective, this snafu might just be enough to spark interest in ASUA that doesn’t relate to becoming part of the Family. Such a reformist movement – ideally, sponsored by a quasi-PAC organization akin to the CCC – would serve as a more moderate distillation of the anarchist fury that arose last year, and possibly bring back elections with competing ideas.

Still, I wouldn’t buy your fall semester books at the UA Bookstore if you don’t like how the profit is being spent.

UPDATE: Laura Donovan beat this site to the punch, and delivers a far pithier judgement. “Stop throwing concerts” is far from the worst policy proposal that I’ve heard.

‘Stead of treated, we get tricked

Posted in Campus, Media by Evan Lisull on 4 May 2009

Jay-Z, confusedThe Last Smash Platinum Bash debuted as a media coup, but now the event is looking to put ASUA in an unfavorable light. Take this scathing Daily Star article from last Friday:

The Last Smash Platinum Bash did not make a profit, nor did it break even. The only question is how much money was lost by the student group that presented it.

A full financial reckoning won’t be available for some time. But ASUA President Tommy Bruce told the Star last month that the concert would break even if about 13,000 tickets were sold at an average cost of about $75.

But most of the seats sold in recent weeks were discounted to below $75, and fewer than 12,000 were sold in all, according to an estimate from ASUA Associate Director Chrissy Lieberman. She said that some of the tickets were given away, but couldn’t say how many.

Why no sales figures? ASUA outsourced ticketing to a company from upstate New York, University Tickets, and the employee with all the numbers spent Thursday on a plane home.

Granted, there is the possibility for some press-release rope-a-dope from ASUA – the numbers could be much better, which will give Bruce the opportunity to gloat at a press conference in his final offical act. Yet assuming that Lieberman isn’t playing games with the Star, one should recall this passage from the Wildcat‘s liveblog:

The Arizona Daily Star reporter sitting next to me just said that he saw a tweet claiming security is now letting spectators without tickets into the concert free of charge.

Followed by this disclaimer:

On another note, it turns out ASUA is not letting people into the concert for free, as previously speculated. They are not offering additional discounts either.

At best, this was simply media speculation in error; at worse, ASUA officials are openly lying about the event. Meanwhile, according to the paper ex-President Bruce isn’t taking any calls, which is never a good sign (although current President Nagata might be worth a shot).

Then there’s the issue of the magic $300,000 reserve that the Star says is ‘gone’ with the projected numbers. The bigger issue, though, is the fact that ASUA has $300,000 on reserve, unaccounted for in the budget, unaccounted for by anyone outside of the executives. To give a sense of perspective, only $90,000 was allocated this year for club funding; and even with the $100,000 from the SSF, ASUA allocated only a total of $180,000 on SafeRide. Is this some local vestige of Al Gore’s lockbox? A hedge fund saved from the vagaries of Subprime Tsunami 2008? Whatever it is, it’d be nice to know exactly why, or how, an amount of money equivalent to 22.5 percent of revenue sources is just sitting, waiting to fill the holes in whatever multiyear project goes awry. We can only hope that these answers will provided under the new era of transparency.

Platinum Bash Reax

Posted in Campus, Media by Evan Lisull on 30 April 2009

Last Smash Platinum BashUnder the Sun’s own Laura Donovan managed to make it to the show:

Pretty much no one sat in their assigned seats, and the man on the loudspeaker said Kelly Clarkson would not come on stage until everyone retreated to the actual seats they bought. And nobody moved, so even though I got the cheapest ticket, I sat in seats worth $200 a month ago, and there was nothing ASUA could do to control this issue. They tried to get everyone to get what they paid for, therefore, move further away from the stage. Everyone stayed put, though, and why would ASUA have a problem with everyone moving forward if those seats weren’t sold, anyway?

Meanwhile, the Wildcat‘s Shain Bergan liveblogged (!) the thing over at the Wildcat‘s house blog (?!), and got in some great lines. First up, on President Bruce:

Revisiting the high five narrative, ASUA President Tommy Bruce is the only person I’ve ever seen high five someone without smiling.

Then, in a post entitled “ASUA’s got 99 problems, and ticket sales are one” (great minds, etc.):

After unsuccessfully trying to track down ASUA officials for some answers (finally), I realized I still needed another quote or two for the next day’s story. Running out of one of the tunnels, I grabbed the only two kids I saw. “Are you guys UA students?” I asked. Turns out they were high school freshmen. I need a new job.

You and me both, Shain.

Ticket sales numbers are still being processed, but already there’s a pretty wide discrepancy. Back to the liveblog:

In the end, estimates ranged from 8,000 to 13,000, so obviously some of us have not yet mastered the art of counting. I went with 12,000, and I’m really hoping I win the pool.

In the full-length article in today’s paper:

About 12,000 spectators flowed into the stadium Wednesday night to watch what Associated Students of the University of Arizona officials are calling one of the best concerts the university has hosted.

. . .

ASUA is expected to at least break even on the concert thanks to revenue generated from ticket sales, merchandise and sponsorships, but it is unclear whether the organization will be able to deliver on its promise to create scholarships from the profits.

The Daily Star‘s estimate was not so high:

About 10,000 fans gave Arizona Stadium a party it hasn’t seen in more than three decades Wednesday night.

. . .

Even with a reduced capacity of 17,000 for the concert, ticket sales had been underwhelming leading up to the show. The people who did show up didn’t seem to mind the extra space, dancing in front of the massive, video-screen-aided stage that faced the west side of the stadium.

The Citizen, curiously, didn’t send a reporter – or if they did, the story missed the cut for today’s issue. Yet an article on Tuesday gives us a good sense of the magnitude of the ticket snafu:

With showtime barely 24 hours away, slow ticket sales continued to plague the first major concert in Arizona Stadium since Jimmy Carter was president and Elvis was a reigning king.

Tuesday morning, Tommy Bruce, president of the Associated Students of University of Arizona, which is sponsoring the Wednesday multigenre show, would say only that more than half of the 17,000 available tickets had sold.

It’s the same thing he said April 12, but organizers still cling to threads of optimism.

“Ticket sales are slow, but they’ve definitely picked up the past few days,” said. [sic]

‘Picked up’ is quite the understatement. If the 12,000 number is correct, it means that ASUA managed to sell 3,500 tickets in a 24 hour time period. In contrast, the unweighted average per-day ticket sales leading up to yesterday works out to around 258 tickets a day (8,500/33). Certainly, students tend to procrastinate when buying concert tickets, but even this seems a bit high for a last minute rush of sales. Unless. . .

The Arizona Daily Star reporter sitting next to me just said that he saw a tweet claiming security is now letting spectators without tickets into the concert free of charge.

Of course, I can’t go investigate, because everyone is being held hostage to their seats right now.

I just talked to a spectator who said he was angry at ASUA for lowering ticket prices after he had paid the original price for his and his friends’ tickets. If this info about letting people in for free is true, this guy’s going to be pissed.

ASUA later denied the allegation, but a 3,500% 1,257% jump in per-day ticket sales deserves at least some scrutiny.