After Delay, Ticket Holders Are Getting Refunds for Two Concerts

People who had planned to see Tool and Judas Priest at Nassau Coliseum are getting payments, after a holdup involving a billionaire Russian investor.

By Ben Sisario

The concert world has a few less frustrated fans, now that a Russian billionaire’s company has returned the money for two canceled concerts at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, allowing ticket holders to collect refunds.

Fans of Tool and Judas Priest had spent more than $2 million for tickets to those bands’ shows this year at the Coliseum. But after all events at the arena were canceled because of the pandemic, complaints began bubbling through social media that refunds for those shows were not reaching fans. According to the policies posted by Ticketmaster, the Coliseum’s ticket vendor, refunds for events that are canceled outright should be processed in about 30 days.

Onexim Sports and Entertainment, a company controlled by Mikhail Prokhorov, a billionaire Russian investor, leased the Coliseum from Nassau County until August, when the county negotiated a transfer of the lease to a real estate developer that had helped finance renovations to the arena.

Nassau Events Center, the Onexim subsidiary that operated the venue, said last week that it was “working closely with Ticketmaster regarding refunds for tickets purchased through that channel.” But it did not respond when asked about the cause of the delay in refunds through Ticketmaster, or whether it could offer any more specific timing. In recent days, fans who had complained last week to The New York Times about not receiving refunds reported that they had begun receiving payments.

Ticketmaster confirmed that a transfer of funds from Mr. Prokhorov’s company had allowed refunds to be processed. A spokesman for Nassau Events Center declined to comment on Wednesday.

Refunds for events canceled because of the coronavirus have been an expensive and complex problem for the music industry. Live Nation Entertainment, which owns Ticketmaster, said in August that it had processed $695 million refunds through June, and was expecting to pay $270 million more in coming months. Many fans have complained about difficulties obtaining refunds for events that were postponed but not canceled. And secondary ticketing platforms like StubHub have drawn the ire of customers for offering credits instead of refunds.

Mr. Prokhorov, who is well known to sports fans as the former owner of Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets, has a net worth of $11.3 billion, according to an estimate by Forbes.

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