‘Big Apple’ Raises $9M for ‘Big Easy’

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The “From the Big Apple to the Big Easy” benefit concerts Sept. 20 have generated about $9 million for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts so far, boosted by more than 50,000 buys of the event on pay-per-view systems, organizers said Tuesday.

The funds -- to be directed to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, Habitat for Humanity International, MusiCares and The Children’s Health Fund -- came from ticket sales, sponsorship dollars, food and merchandise sales; the PPV telecast and the donation of $1 million by MadisonSquareGarden. Later DVD and CD sales will generate more cash. MSG owner Cablevision Systems Corp. said the Garden underwrote all production costs related to the concerts, which were held there and at RadioCityMusic Hall, both in New York.

Cable and satellite systems -- including Cablevision, Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable, EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network and DirecTV Inc. -- carried the PPV event, distributed by In Demand and TVN Entertainment Corp. All of the $19.95 purchase price went to the event’s beneficiaries.

A New Kids on the Block PPV concert in March 1990 had about 260,000 buys, the record for a music event on PPV, according to Showtime Event Television.

CDs from Rhino Records and DVDs from Warner Bros. are scheduled to go on sale in December.

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