Concert Ticket Prices Rise, Sales Fall

ByABC News
July 6, 2001, 12:36 PM

July 9 -- The cost of seeing your favorite band is getting steeper and some fans are staying away as a result.

The average price of a concert ticket during the first six months of the year was $46.69 4.2 percent higher than the average cost of a ticket for the same period last year, according to the latest figures from music industry magazine Pollstar.

That price is almost 7 percent higher than the average for all of 2000, and an even more startling 43 percent increase over what concert tickets cost just three years ago, according to Pollstar.

Sales Suffer

But while ticket prices are steadily increasing, ticket sales are not following suit.

Around 10.9 million tickets were sold during the first half of the year, down 15.5 percent from the 12.9 million tickets sold in the first six months of 2000. Gross sales also decreased to $508.2 million from $579.3 million for the first half of last year, says Gary Bongiovanni, Pollstar editor-in-chief.

The downturn in the economy may have kept some fans out in the parking lot this year, while the high price of some of the year's hottest tours is probably prompting concert goers to be more selective, says Bongiovanni.

Billy Joel and Elton John's "Face-to-Face" tour was the most expensive of the first half with an average ticket price of $100.95, according to Pollstar. U2's "Elevation" tour, the highest-grossing act of the first half with ticket sales of $69 million, boasted an average ticket price of $76.18. Some U2 tickets sold for as high as $130.

Top Grossing Tours

And there are no signs of slowdown in the second half of 2001. Madonna's "Drowned World Tour," which hits North America at the end of July, are selling for as much as $250 a show. Tickets for the Material Girl's shows at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas are selling for as much as $350.

"The really hot acts will be able to command pretty much what they want," says Bongiovanni. "The problem is the acts that are not on somebody's must-see list. Even if you're a real big fan, you've got to make your choices."