June 28, 2001 10:50 AM

Tickets for a special VIP package at Madonna’s otherwise long-ago sold-out Aug. 2 and 3 performances at Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey were still available up through last Sunday, reports The New York Times. The packages, which include a number of so-called perks, sell for $450 each. That is $200 higher than the advertised top ticket price for the Material Mom’s tour. (Scalpers are reportedly getting as much as $5,000 each for front-row seats.) For the extra two bills, concert-goers are entitled to parking, an unspecified souvenir and what is being called a V.I.P. party. In New Jersey, this gathering will consist of a pre-concert buffet inside the arena, reports The Times, which notes that Madonna will not be circulating at chow time — or any time. The extra revenue, says the paper, goes directly to the concert hall, the promoter (SFX) and Madonna herself. Industry observers call the V.I.P. packages, which are becoming increasingly common for popular attractions, a legalized form of scalping that offers few benefits to the consumer, beyond the opportunity to claim choice seats for sold-out shows. Madison Square Garden still has some V.I.P. packages available for Madonna’s concerts there, says The Times, but they are being offered chiefly to sponsors and other V.I.P.s, though the special-events sales department.

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