How Comcast Escaped Fyre Festival Doom

Just before the chaos, the cable giant pulled away from a possible $25 million investment in the company behind the event.

The Comcast Center

The Comcast Center

Comcast is just the latest name to be dropped in the Fyre Festival fallout, but the company’s connection has little to do with the botched weekend getaway.

On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Comcast Ventures came close to investing $25 million in Fyre Media Inc., the festival’s organizer. The company reportedly considered investing in Fyre’s app — not its festival — but decided not to just days before the comically tragic event was scheduled to take place.

The festival’s organizers — Murder Inc. Records’ Ja Rule and Bucknell University alum Billy McFarland —met with Comcast about their talent-booking app in February. But a lot went wrong, according to a Comcast Ventures spokeswoman who talked to Bloomberg anonymously. Fyre representatives failed to provide enough financial information for an audit, and after a due diligence review, analysts realized that the app had a number of technical challenges, including an inadequate billing tool. 

Comcast maintains that it never invested in Fyre Media, though McFarland allegedly told employees that they’d secured $20 million from the media giant. Comcast Ventures investment portfolio is wide: It’s thrown funds into consumer platforms like FanDuel, Instacart and Vox Media and enterprise platforms like Slack and Zenefits. Rejecting the Fyre app was nothing short of a successful dodge.

Last week, Stephen Starr’s name was vindicated in the debacle after attendees blamed STARR Catering Group for the sad sandwiches of bread and cheese that they arrived to on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma.

Since the event, four lawsuits have been filed against Fyre Media, including one filed in Philadelphia by National Event Services, Inc. The Delco contractor had an agreement with Fyre to provide emergency medical services for the festival. The company alleges that Ja Rule and McFarland failed to obtain cancellation insurance and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages among other things.

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