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Project Showtime: Secret Deal Between Irving Azoff, Ticketmaster & Ticket Scalpers Revealed

Irving Azoff and Ticketmaster were reprotedly involved in a plan to combine major secondary ticketing services along with other entertainment industry assets just months before Azoff was damning the ticket scalpling in the press and distancing himself from the practice. 

Azo  According to a damning Wall Street Journal article, the deal codenamed Project Showtime only fell apart because of distrust between the participants.  But that was not before the sTicketsecondary ticket outfits were given hundreds of premium tickets in a backroom deal to scalp for Azoff client Van Halen's reunion tour that reportedly netted the band an additonal $1 million.

The proposed alliance with secondary ticketers was hatched at a meeting led by Azoff in the summer of 2007. "I always knew we'd end up in a room together," he reportedly told the Hollywood gathering. "I just thought it would be a courtroom."  Present were senior executives of AEG Live, Ticketmaster and

Cablevision Systems Corp.'s MSG Entertainment and the owners of Boston-based Ace Ticket; LA's Barry's Tickets Service Floridas' Total Tickets, Chicago's Gold Coast, New York City's Elite Ticket, and Alliance Tickets, which operates in Denver, Las Vegas and Seattle.

Both moves run contradictory to Azoff's more recent public pronouncements as the now-head of Ticketmaster working towards regulartory approval of a merger with concert company Live Nation.  They also offer a glimpse into just how powerful the combined entity could be. Azoff was not yet the head of Ticketmaster at the time of the secondary ticket and Van Haeln wheelign and dealing, but his Front Line Management firm was already partially owned by the ticket giant.