Concert Year 2011 (So Far)

Although concert grosses are up, the global concert industry actually experienced a decrease in ticket sales during the first six months of 2011. That and other fun facts to know and tell, await you in Pollstar’s annual mid-year report.

Photo: AP Photo
Estadio Unico de La Plata, La Plata, Argentina

Crunching the numbers of our Top 50 Worldwide Tour charts shows a cumulative gross of $1.65 billion, a $166.2 million or 11.2 percent, jump in total gross-dollar ticket sales when compared to the first six months of 2010.

However, total ticket sales throughout the world declined by 2.1 percent, resulting in 19.4 million tix sold for the 50 biggest tours during the first half of 2011.

Yet artists in the global Top 50 did all right for themselves, with average grosses climbing nearly $200,000, or 20.2 percent from the previous year. What’s more, the average number of tickets per show increased by about 5.8 percent to 13,762.

The cost of buying tickets continued to climb with the average price jumping $10.23, or 13.6 percent, resulting in concertgoers paying an average of $84.92 for a ticket to see one of the Top 50 Tours.

It probably comes as no surprise that more tours on the Top 50 Worldwide chart charged $100 or more for tickets – 12 this year compared to eight tours whose tickets reached the three-figure mark during the same time last year.

Photo: Bobby Talamine /
O2 Arena, London, UK

Eyeballing the Top 100 North American Tours shows the industry rebounding with a total gross of $1.12 billion, an increase of $157 million or 16.2 percent. Unlike the global picture, total ticket sales rose in North America with 16.7 million sold, a 5.3 percent increase over 15.9 million from one year ago.

The average gross per show also went up, rising 7.3 percent to $453,254 while the average tickets sold per concert dropped slightly to 6,762.

As throughout the world, the average ticket price in North America rose 10.2 percent, a $6.25 increase resulting in a record $67.02.

Who’s on top of the charts? Paraphrasing that old line about Frank Sinatra, it’s U2’s world and we just live in it. The Top 50 Worldwide Tours shows Bono & Co. in the No. 1 slot with a total gross of $164 million. That works out to 1,679,467 tickets sold for 23 shows in 16 cities. While the band’s 360° Tour sported a wide range of prices, the average U2 ticket price was $97.65 worldwide.

Building barriers turned out to be very, very profitable for Roger Waters whose production of The Wall put the former Pink Floydian in second place on the Top 50 Worldwide Tours chart with a total gross of $97.9 million. Rounding out the world’s Top 5 are Bon Jovi ($92.1 million); Lady Gaga ($65.3 million); and Usher (62.2 million).

Photo: AP Photo
Hard Rock Calling, Hyde Park, London, UK

U2 came on like gangbusters in North America as well, dominating Pollstar’s Top 100 North American Tours chart with a total gross of $85.8 million. The breakdown shows the band’s stadium gigs averaging 88,960 tickets sold per show or 978,558 total. Playing 14 shows in 11 cities, U2’s average gross was $7,800,000.

Second place went to Lady Gaga who grossed $65.3 million during the first six months. Positions 3-5 went to Bon Jovi ($57.4 million); Kenny Chesney ($46.7 million) and Luis Miguel ($33.9 million), respectively.

Photo: Kate Seesholtz /
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.

Photo: AP Photo
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.

Want to see more? Sure you do. Just click here for Pollstar’s Mid-Year Business Analysis, here for our Top 50 Worldwide Tours chart and here for the Top 100 North American Tours.