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Semi-OT: How Michael Jackson affected the history of the Pats

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by ctpatsfan77, Jun 26, 2009.

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  1. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    As PFT noted, back in the 80s, the Sullivan family lost(!) a huge amount of money working with Michael Jackson and the rest of the Jackson family (remember, this was at the height of their popularity, which shows just how good their business acumen was).

    Ultimately, this was one of the factors that led them to sell the team to Victor Kiam, who sold to James Orthwein, who sold to Robert Kraft.

    It kinda makes you wonder what would have happened if the Sullivans had said no 25 years ago to the "Victory Tour."
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2009
  2. Tunescribe

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    So ... we have Michael Jackson to thank for three Lombardis? :confused:
  3. PatsFanSince74

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    Interesting perspective. I generally downplay "what if" scenarios since they are hypotheses within guesses within uncertainties, but that one seems plausible. thanks for pointing it out.
  4. RayClay

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    As much as i love Billy Sullivan for founding and keeping a team with no stadium, stupid son Chuck did us all a favor in getting screwed by the Jackson's Victory tour.

    This set in motion the bizarre circumstances that led to Kraft eventually getting the team. Don King was also the co-promoter, so you know the tour accounting was on the level.

    Poor Chuck was the downfall of the Patriots with every move he made. Apparently a talented financial person, he got a swelled head and thought he was a bigshot, when he was really a dork.

    Don King co-promoted The Jacksons Victory Tour
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2009
  5. TrueBeliever

    TrueBeliever Rookie

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    Was that the tour that had to be cancelled because his hair was set on fire during the production of the Pepsi ad?
  6. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    No..it was quite successful...Just that Sullivan was over his head...
  7. matt9071

    matt9071 Rookie

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    Well I have no complaints the pats are in the right hands.
  8. PatsDeb

    PatsDeb PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Wasn't this the event that almost singlehandedly got the Sullivans thrown out of Foxboro? I remember that there was front page news for about a week about Michael Jackson fans trashing everyone's lawn in Foxboro because there wasn't enough parking for the event (sound familiar?), so everyone either camped out or left their cars on private property. Or was this the Grateful Dead fans? My memory ain't what it used to be!
  9. PatsWickedPissah

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    King said his reverence for Harvard University was lessened by his experience with Sullivan.

    "I thought Harvard was the light on the hill," King said. "Then I met Chuck and said this motherflyer went to Harvard!"


    Sadly, my career left me totally unimpressed by any of the many Harvard grads I worked with. Every one of them wanted to be CEO but almost all demonstrated minimal competence in geting things done. Not so the MIT folks I worked with who mostly were the cream of the crop.
  10. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It sure didn't feel like Jackson did us any favors while it was going on. Those were the real dark days of the franchise.

    Sure I'll always be grateful to Billy Sullivan for starting the franchise. but he and his son Pat were meddling owners and did not have very good business sense. And Kiam was a awful. We came very close to losing our team and I remember feeling very down about it.

    So, I won't give Jackson any credit for what we have now. I am very thankful that Bob Kraft finally was able to buy the team.
  11. TrueBeliever

    TrueBeliever Rookie

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    Some years back I was looking around on eBay and I came across a hardcover book written by Kiam titled Live to Win. It had a Pat Patriot helmet on the cover photo and only cost a few bucks, so I bought it. I've never read it though, especially since I've heard Kiam was a real dope of an owner.

    I think Dennis Miller put it best on a "Weekend Update" segment on Saturday Night Live shortly after the "female reporter in the locker room" scandal:

    "Asked to comment, Patriots owner Victor Kiam said, 'I don't see what the big deal is. I've seen Zeke Moatt's penis, and I liked it so much I bought the company.'" ;)
  12. RayClay

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    I could be wrong, but I don't think they could even get Foxboro to allow a date on the tour. It was a fiasco.

    That's memory, so please check me.
  13. RayClay

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    I gave him credit because he imploded the team and got them out of there. Snowball that led to Kraft getting the stadium and leverage.

    They went to the super bowl one year later. Who knows how long the Sullivans would have held on without that disastrous tour. Don't get me wrong, it was time to go.

    They were terrible business people.

    They meddled, but made some pretty good football decisions with little money and hired some good football people too. Bucko, Holovak, Fairbanks.

    They were terrible business wise which led to the biggest problems.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2009
  14. farn

    farn Rookie

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    Not from NE, nor was I a fan in those earlier days. But WTF ????!?!

    HOW DO YOU SCREW UP THE JACKSONS ? (ok I know I am opening the door for loads of wise cracks) Seriously - it should have been a no-brainer money maker !
  15. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #51 Jersey

    I wonder how Mike Tyson managed to squander his personal fortune of $400 million...
  16. RayClay

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    You get involved with Don King for one. Concert promoting is a sleazy business anyway. Lot's of dems and dose guys. Chuck sullivan was a sheep waiting to be fleeced.
  17. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Trust me, anything to do with the entertainment industry, from concerts to films to record companies to TV shows, Broadway... It's all about how much they can skin off the cat before he croaks.

    I've spent quite a bit of time with film, theatre, TV, etc. It's all about everyone getting their cut, and not having to pay for anything. I've seen a film company roll up millions in debts from local companies, and literally, the day AFTER the film wraps, the company disbands and leaves creditors holding the bag.

    See, concert promoters are like film producers. You want to put on a series of shows? Fine. You incorporate a production company solely for that tour. It exists to take in money, pay the act and staff, and nothing more. Everyone who works for the company is treated as a self-employed sub-contractor and gets a 1099 instead of a W-2. That way no SS or taxes of any kind are withheld or paid. Everything from office furniture to computers to vehicles is purchased outright. Contracts are let for transportation, catering, security, etc. The day the show wraps, all the locks are changed. the very next day, everything tangible is sold on the steps of the office or warehouse for whatever price they can get, usually cash only. Anything left is abandoned and the company ceases to be.

    This way, there's no one to sue in case of any liability issue. All the investors have no one to go after when they get left holding the bag. The corporation produced the concert tour, or the film, or whatever, so in almost all cases, the folks running things are off the hook.

    Anyway, the standard primer on the issue is the old Zero Mostel fil, "The Producers". It's a great comedy, but it's also right on the mark as to how things work in that industry.

    respects,
  18. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm almost positive that was the Grateful Dead.

    That's correct. It was highly ironic that Sullivan was unable to get the town to grant him a license for his own tour, in his own stadium.
  19. RayClay

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    Thanks, I'm a big show business biography aficionado so I really enjoyed that nuts and bolts explanation. Not a business for the naive, shall we say.
  20. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    First off Chuck Sullivan negotiating with Don King was a one-sided fight. Sullivan may have had the book smarts but he didn't use them. If he did, he would have hired somebody with industry experience to advise him of the legal and financial ramifications. King had the street smarts while Sullivan was naive and out of his element.

    First King would not guarantee the revenue the Jackson's would produce, yet Sullivan proceeded anyways. But that wasn't the real problem. The fatal flaw was that Sullivan did not demand a guarantee of expenses by the Jacksons. And without that to hold them back, they went on a spending spree as nothing was coming out of their pockets.

    One of the expenses was constructing what at that time was the largest stage ever for a concert. Aside from the cost of constructing and dismantling, it had another affect: due to its size it eliminated thousands of seats wherever they played. This meant that Sullivan's projections of ticket sales were invalid, and his revenue was less than expected.

    So now Sullivan is upside down due to lower than projected revenue and higher than expected costs. The family probably could have survived that loss, but next was the decision that really killed them. Sullivan's plan to recoup that loss was to make the money back on Jacksons' licensed products - memorabilia and souvenirs ranging from t-shirts to posters to lunch boxes.

    Again, the negotiations were one-sided. Rather than the Jacksons becoming partners in the venture, they simply signed away the rights for a set fee - of $18 million. They didn't have to do anything to help Sullivan move any of the products, and Sullivan vastly over estimated how much demand there would be for the products. And rather than have production work deliver the items 'just in time' to meet demand, they went ahead and made all the items up front, ahead of time.

    Then, the final straw was when the tour ended Michael Jackson went in to seclusion and first started acting strange. Really strange. Once he did that, nobody wanted any of those t-shirts, posters, lunch boxes or action figures. You couldn't give them away. There were literally truck loads of Jacksons merchandise parked in Foxboro that were now worthless.


    And that is how one goes from a no-brainer money-making concert tour, to losing so much money that you have to sell your NFL team.
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