Twenty-four hours before Jake Paul was set to take Central Park’s SummerStage on Thursday night, would-be concertgoers heard the show would be switching venues, from a sprawling outdoor arena that holds 5,500 people to the smaller, subterranean PlayStation Theater in Midtown. Some parents attending with their kids said they didn’t even receive an email notification about the change—they only heard about it from their children or other parents, already en route to the event.
“It’s awful and terrible, this whole show,” said Dana Ferraro, who was chaperoning her daughter. “I’m a concertgoer my whole life and this is the worst thing I’ve ever seen, changing venues on us. Tell Jake Paul with all his money he needs to do the organizing better.”
At 21, Paul has inarguably conquered YouTube. His daily vlogs and frat-like prank videos have earned him over 15 million subscribers on the platform and millions more followers scattered across other social networks. But there are signs this may soon change. Since his cross-country tour was announced in mid-March, it has been plagued with organizational issues and low attendance. Even the PlayStation Theater was only partly full by the time the curtain rose.
And though Paul was nominally the headliner, much of the tour was focused on promoting his squad and “talent incubator,” Team 10, a clique of YouTubers who have pledged their allegiance (and an undisclosed portion of their income) to Paul in return for guest spots in his videos and housing in the Team 10 mansion. But early in May, Paul’s squad began to implode. Nick Crompton, one of the older and more trusted members of the crew, exited to protest “internal changes” taking place. Just days later, vlogger Chance Sutton, who had been friends with Paul since high school, left as well. Kade Speiser, another vlogger set to be on tour, quit too, along with several members of Paul’s support staff. Paul’s manager, Kevin Gould, also parted ways with Paul. (Paul and his brother, fellow YouTube star Logan, are now managed by their father, “Vlogdad” Greg Paul.) Tour marketers were forced to hastily scrub images of the departed Team 10 members from promotional posters, and concertgoers were dismayed by the absence of their favorites.