Kanye West’s decision to cancel the remaining 20 dates on his Saint Pablo tour will likely cost him $30 million, mostly in refunds to ticket holders.
Couple that with unrecoupable production and advertising costs for promoting the final leg of the tour, combined with the hole it will leave in the booking calendars of major east coast venues like Brooklyn’s Barclays Center which had Yeezy booked for New Years Eve, and the damage quickly adds up into the mid-eight figures.
According to Pitchfork, West has officially canceled the third and final leg of his tour, after exiting his Sacramento concert mid-show Saturday night and then canceling a makeup show Sunday at The Forum in Los Angeles.
Despite some early hiccups, the Saint Pablo tour had been doing quite well, grossing an estimated $60 million on 39 dates. Grosses for more than half those shows were reported to our partner media site Pollstar.
That includes $8.3 million for six shows at the Forum in Los Angeles, $4.9 million for West’s two shows at Madison Square Garden in New York and an impressive $2.1 million haul for an Oct. 29 show at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Yes, Kanye is an impressive earner, but the decision to put the often unstable rapper on a 60-date tour now seems nearly as regrettable as it was predictable.
Tour promoter Live Nation will certainly take a hit and will have to write down the canceled dates and production expenses in what is already a low-margin business. The cancellations also affect the road crews and production teams who were relying on work from the tour to get them through the holidays.
“The tour company and his management are responsible for paying for equipment, techs, trucks, busses, and venue rentals,” one commenter wrote on a stagehand forum on Facebook. “The only people really getting fucked here are the local crew.”
It’s also bad news for venues on the tour who are losing their shows. With only a few weeks to find a makeup event, most will go dark for the night and lose out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. For many venues, the show could have made the difference between a profitable and unprofitable year.
As for ticket resellers, the cancellations could be a secret blessing explained Patrick Ryan with resale giant Eventellect.
“With rumors of Kanye West’s start time and quality of performance being highly erratic, you can expect softness around his tickets on the secondary market. With some shows below cost though, resellers holding seats in those markets would prefer a cancellation at this point,” he told Amplify. “Ticketmaster and Live Nation are handling this difficult situation very well by immediately issuing refunds for the Sacramento performance. This gives fans the confidence that even if there is an issue with the performance they are attending they aren’t going to be left in the cold financially.”