Lady Gaga‘s canceled Born This Way Ball – which was set to run 22 more nights at arenas through March 20th – will lead to nearly $30 million in refunds, according to estimates based on Pollstar data. And that’s not counting the huge potential income losses from merchandise, food, beer and parking sales. “It was definitely a blow,” says Bernie Punt, sales and marketing director for the Bryce Jordan Center at Pennsylvania State University, which had nearly sold out its 12,500 capacity for Gaga’s March 2nd gig. “Trust me, I’ve been hearing nothing for the past 48 hours of so many saddened fans that were looking forward to this. Everybody bought those tickets for Christmas or Hanukkah gifts.”
Gaga announced on Tuesday that she was forced to cancel all remaining dates on the tour due to a labral tear to her right hip, requiring surgery. Her world tour in 2012 had grossed $161.4 million, according to Pollstar, behind only Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters and Coldplay; her early dates this year had consistently sold out between roughly 9,000 and 15,000 tickets at each U.S. arena. As pop-star injuries go, this wasn’t as devastating as Bono’s back surgery before a U2 tour in 2010 – but Gaga’s tour, at least so far, was completely canceled rather than postponed, so the revenue is gone.
“It’s such a huge disappointment,” says Alipa Patel, marketing and communications manager for Copps Coliseum, where Gaga canceled this weekend’s show in Hamilton, Ontario. “It’s pretty marquee for a city like Hamilton to get a Lady Gaga. We’ve had a lot of big names come through, like Bruce Springsteen and Elton John, but with Lady Gaga being so current, it was really something that was going to put us on the map.”
Neither Gaga nor her promoter, Live Nation, are likely to fully absorb the financial losses on their own: The cancelations were due to doctor’s orders, so insurance would almost certainly kick in. (Gaga’s agent and manager, as well as Live Nation reps, declined to comment for this story.) The Jordan Center’s Punt, though, notes that his advertising costs won’t be recouped. The Gaga show was announced last fall during a Penn State home football game of 100,000 fans, a rarity on campus.
“Really the biggest loss is opportunity,” says Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of Pollstar. “She’s hot right now and she has to sit on the sidelines. It’s hard to predict what the real impact’s going to be.”