How The Demise Of One Ticket Broker Can Spell Disaster For Las Vegas Shows.
Three days ago Prestige Travel filed for bankruptcy. This might not mean anything to people outside of Vegas, but to casinos, producers, and ticket holders this means a full on panic.
Prestige Travel was one of the main ticket brokers for shows in Las Vegas. They sold a lot of show tickets and took a very high commission from those tickets. Most producers relied on the check they received every week from Prestige for tickets already sold to pay for the shows, cast, crew, advertising and theater rental. Large show producers like Cirque du Soleil will be hurt yet not truly affected by this sudden turn of events. But smaller shows will be soon be forced to close or declare bankruptcy themselves because of this one company's bankruptcy debacle.
Most of the smaller shows rely heavily on the weekly check they receive from Prestige for ticket sales and are surviving from check to check. Without this money, producers suddenly find themselves in the position of paying everyone and everything out of their own pockets. The theater rentals that these producers pay dearly for don't care about a ticket company not paying the producers. The theater expects the check every week or they pull that show and bring in the next show that is waiting in the wings. The ad agencies expect the producer's weekly check as well, or advertising gets pulled. Dancers, acts, and stage crew who work so hard to put on a show every night will wonder if they will get paid this week. Most of these performers also live pay check to pay check, which will leave them unable to pay their bills. This sudden disastrous circumstance has shows and performers wondering how they will recover from the financial setback.
In the next week the fall out from this one company's bankruptcy filing will have a huge impact on the smaller-scaled shows providing entertainment in Las Vegas. There will be many shows closing as others scramble to find new backers to carry them over this hardship. Some shows will be forced to cut costs, firing performers and keeping stage crews to a minimum until they can get back on their feet, if they can get back on their feet. And when Prestige Travel has debts that add up to over $10 million, I don't see the little guys getting their money anytime soon. It has left producers with very little recourse.
Even though there are other ticket brokers in Vegas, and Prestige is restructuring under Chapter 11, the damage to small Vegas shows is as yet unfathomable. Revenues from prior ticket sales will never been seen by producers, as funds from those tickets sales are swallowed up in the bankruptcy. The money owed these producers ranges from $20,000 to $500,000, enough to send even a well-established show into a tail spin.
The snowball has started and unfortunately over the next month it will be rolling down a very steep and slippery slope, picking up speed as it get bigger and bigger, clearing a path that leaves me wondering who will survive.