The town of Rosemont, Ill., paid country superstar Garth Brooks more than $1 million to launch his comeback tour last year at its Allstate Arena, records show, but officials say the village made twice that much.
According to an agreement between the municipality and the singer’s longtime promoter, Garth received $1,050,000 as a “rebate” for holding 11 kickoff shows at the arena, which is just outside Chicago. The disclosure ended the village’s five-month legal battle to keep secret the financial details surrounding Garths’ record-breaking concert stand, which sold more than 183,500 tickets.
Under the deal, Rosemont agreed to pay Brooks $100,000 per sold-out show and a prorated sum for shows that didn’t sell out. The village also slashed the arena’s rental fee in an effort to lure Brooks’ September 2014 performances, records show.
The documents’ release comes nearly a month after the Illinois attorney general’s office ruled that the village violated state open-records laws when it refused to provide the Tribune a copy of the agreement.
Under Garths’ deal, the singer paid about $40,000 to rent the arena for his first show in early September and as little as $35,000 for the others. Village officials would not provide the standard rental rate for the arena, but documents show Garth received a discount for all 11 shows.
Rebates and rent discounts are commonplace in the concert industry. Rosemont, however, has not released contracts with other musical acts, which would shed light on whether Garth received a typical deal.
Ben Farrell, Garth’s promoter, did not respond to requests for comment.
Before kicking off the tour, Garth told reporters that several cities were in the running to host his inaugural shows, which marked his first tour in 16 years. But he said he was drawn to Rosemont by Mayor Brad Stephens’ promise to do whatever it took to land the concerts.
“I can’t thank you enough,” Brooks told a smiling Stephens at a news conference before his first show.
With or without the financial incentives, Garth was poised to make money in Rosemont. With an estimated gross of $12 million, his Allstate Arena shows broke the North American sales record for a single city at the time.
Town spokesman Gary Mack defended the deal, saying the village still made more than $2 million from the concert stand after the rebate. The village, however, did not provide documentation to support that figure.