Hundreds of students and community members gathered at the Collins Center for the Arts Wednesday night to take part in the popular daytime game show “The Price is Right — Live!” Due to a contractual issue, the show was canceled less than 2 hours before it was scheduled to start.
According to executive director of the CCA John Patches, the lack of a “no purchase necessary” disclaimer on the advertisements in the Union, the CCA box office and online caused the cancellation of the show.
“What the problem was, the contract that we signed, we were obligated to publicize that disclaimer,” Patches said. “We slipped up. It had nothing to do with state laws or local ordinance — that was all in order. But contractually, we were obligated to include a disclaimer on our advertising.”
Some states require a “no purchase necessary” disclaimer to be displayed, but Maine is not one of those states. “The Price is Right” and its traveling counterpart differ from sweepstakes and lotteries in the way that the winner is chosen by merit — winning one of the stage games — rather than by chance.
“The show arrived early in the morning and maybe around [1 p.m.], someone from the show went to the Union and he saw a poster [for the event] and there was no disclaimer on the poster,” Patches said. “I’m just assuming that he came back and probably talked to his company manager and they went online and saw it wasn’t online.”
It wasn’t long after Patches got to the venue, which was around 5 p.m., when he realized that nothing could be done.
“The next thing we did was try and handle the quality control,” Patches said. “There was only one or two individuals that were pretty angry, [who] yelled and stuff like that. We went onto the intercom system and made the announcement. We let them all know they could get their money back quickly.”
Even though the advertisements were the downfall of the production, Patches admitted that advertising for the show wasn’t necessary, as the tickets were selling fine as is.
“It’s interesting, we didn’t have to advertise. The tickets were being sold on the show’s own momentum. But there were two posters, one in the box office and one in the Union, and there were no disclaimers on those. Then they checked the website, and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Because it was not on the website, their legal counsel thought we were all in jeopardy.”
According to the Bangor Daily News, the CCA will swallow a $36,000 loss on this project.
“Any loss is a hit for us. It’s going to be a mountain to overcome by the end of the fiscal year,” Patches said.
Leading up to this production, Patches said he contacted the state police and encountered no problems along the way.
“There’s an office in Augusta that handles sweepstakes and gaming permits and we got those,” Patches said. “The company’s legal team on the West Coast helped us obtain those as well. This was the first gaming show we had done here and they helped in the sense that they were able to present the show.”
Working with productions for a couple decades, Patches can’t recall an event getting canceled under these circumstances and so close to the start time.
“This is the first time in my 20 years here that a show was canceled this way,” he said.
While it’s unlikely “The Price is Right — Live!” will return to Orono this school year, Patches is determined to bring them back and does not believe this incident ended their relationship.
“I’d be very willing to [have them back],” he said. “It’s a popular show.”