Organizers of the Tuesday memorial service for Michael Jackson in downtown Los Angeles had only five days to plan the massive event, but the tribute "couldn't have gone any better," according to Staples Center and Nokia Theatre L.A. Live senior VP/GM Lee Zeidman.

"It was truly an amazing thing," says Zeidman, who also serves as senior VP/GM for downtown Los Angeles' $2.5 billion L.A. Live sports and entertainment project, which is owned and being developed by AEG.

Thousands of fans surrounded L.A. Live on July 7 to pay tribute to the King of Pop. The memorial service totaled a combined 20.5 household rating with 30.92 million viewers on the 19 networks carrying it from approximately 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., according to Nielsen Media Research.

More than 1.6 million fans registered for tickets to the tribute inside Staples Center and Nokia Theatre, but roughly 23,000 people received tickets. The two-hour memorial featured performances by such artists as Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson and Usher, among others. Organizers of the service included Ken Ehrlich Productions, AEG Live and Kenny Ortega.

On the following day of the Jackson memorial, Zeidman spoke with Billboard about the last minute planning of the event, costs for AEG, revenue opportunities and more.

Do you have an estimation of how many people attended Tuesday's memorial service for Michael Jackson at Staples Center and Nokia Theatre L.A. Live?
We did 17,500 seated in Staples Center and another 5,500 in the Nokia Theatre. But in terms of crowd in and around the city, everybody paid attention to our message to not come down here if you didn't have a ticket. We pretty much locked off the vicinity around L.A. Live, Nokia Theatre and Staples Center -- similar to what's done for the Grammy event. And the LAPD did not allow anybody in without a ticket or the proper wristband to come into the venues.

It sounded like the crowd was pretty well behaved. Did you come across any problems outside the venues?
It was a memorial for arguably the most prolific entertainer in history -- the King of Pop. People respected that. People that were in and around the streets of Los Angeles were very orderly. The LAPD reported zero arrests. It was amazing. To quote LAPD assistant Deputy Chief Earl Paysinger, "It was nothing short of a miracle what took place down here." Nobody really knew what to expect, because there had never been anything like this done before at a venue such as Staples Center. Nobody knew if it was going to be 25,000 people or 1 million people lining the streets.

Did AEG have to cover any costs for the service?
We're still trying to put those together. As you can imagine, when you put together something this quickly and of this size, we didn't have an opportunity to put a budget together. So that's still coming in. I can't even venture to guess what the entire cost of this would be yet.

Did the tribute provide any revenue opportunities for Staples Center and Nokia Theatre?
We did not to any merch sales whatsoever. We did open up our concessions at Staples Center and Nokia Theatre for water and a limited menu, because people were going to be here for a good four hours in the venue. But that was minimal. We did not sell alcohol at either venue. But the concessions revenue was very minimal.

When did the planning for the memorial begin?
[Jackson] passed on Thursday (June 25). He had his first two major rehearsals here on Tuesday and Wednesday. The following week we were discussing it and trying to figure it out. I got word on Wednesday (July 1) that we were waiting for approval from the family that the Staples Center was strongly being considered as a site for this memorial. From Wednesday late afternoon when we got word that the family gave the initial go-ahead on Staples Center and Nokia Theatre for overflow, everything went into motion. We had five days to put the whole thing together, in terms of production, ticketing, media credentialing, venue layout production and the fact that we had the [Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey] load-in on Monday. We had to get with Feld Entertainment and postpone the circus load-in to Tuesday after the memorial.

That's quite a bit of planning for five days.
Staples Center has been the home to the Democratic National Convention and nine out of the last 10 Grammy Awards. Nokia Theatre does the Espy Awards, the American Music Awards and the Emmys. When you think about the time it takes to put on something of this magnitude -- just from a load-in/load-out standpoint -- all those types of shows are 10 to 21 days in advance. For instance, the Grammys, after they make the (nominations) announcement in December, they've got from December to February to identify the artists, and do the rehearsals and writing for the show. This thing was written, put into production, loaded in, rehearsed and ticketed to over 25,000 people over five days.

And keep in mind that it was all done over a holiday weekend. Half of my staff at Staples Center had just left for vacation, and the other half was on their way out for vacation, including myself. And we had just got done assisting the Lakers with the production and coordination of the Lakers parade that did 90,000 people at the [Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum] and 250,000 people on the parade route. We were pretty tired. With that taken into context, we had to bring in 2,500 part-time employees, get them notified over the holiday weekend, and work with the LAPD to make sure they got in through the checkpoints so we could be fully staffed for these events.