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Michael Jackson Memorial Draws Big Audience, Huge Price Tag

July 9, 2009 9:02 AM ET

Michael Jackson's all-star memorial service cost Los Angeles significantly less than first estimated, running up a tab of $1.4 million for the deployment of extra police officers, sanitation workers and traffic controllers, CNN reports. The Los Angeles Mayor's Office at first predicted the event would cost the cash-strapped city $3.8 million, leading mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to set up a Website to collect tax-deductible donations. Heavy Internet traffic on the day of the memorial caused the site to crash frequently, and the page only managed to raise approximately $17,000. At press time, it was unclear if AEG Live, the concert promotion company that helped stage the event, contributed any cash.

(Check out photos from the Jackson memorial.)

An estimated 31.1 million people in the U.S. watched the Jackson memorial on television, the AP reports, placing the broadcast behind the funerals of Princess Diana (33.2 million in 1997) and Ronald Reagan (35.1 million in 2004). However, because the memorial took place during the afternoon of a workweek, a massive audience saw the service via Webcast. The number of online viewers doubles the estimated audience, as MSNBC reported 19 million streams on June 7th, CNN had 10.5 million and ABC News had 6 million streams; the tribute was also streamed on TMZ, Hulu, MySpace and CBS.

(Go inside the memorial in our report from the scene.)

AEG Live launched their official online Michael Jackson: This Is It! Merchandise store yesterday, featuring many of the items fans could have expected to see on sale at London's O2 Arena during Jackson's run of 50 concerts. According to an e-mail to those who registered to purchase tickets to the shows, Jackson himself approved all of the items — which range from clothing to belt buckles to collective plates — in early June. "As we mourn the loss of one of the greatest talents the world has ever seen, we are only beginning to feel the impact that Michael left upon us all," AEG Live's e-mail announcing the site reads. "A variety of official merchandise commemorates this incredible talent and preserves the legacy that is Michael Jackson."

Finally, TMZ reports that Jackson will be wearing one white leather glove covered in Swarovski crystals when he is finally buried. La Toya Jackson reportedly wanted Michael to be wearing his trademark one glove — an iconic fashion statement echoed by his brothers at the memorial — inside the casket, and glove maker Dorothy Gaspar says Jackson's stylist told her La Toya selected a white leather glove Gaspar made over a decade ago.

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