2011 Mid-Year Features

Business is up by most measures and ticket prices continue to rise.


Mid-Year Business Analysis

Top 100 North American Tours

Top 50 Worldwide Tours

Top 100 Concert Grosses


Worldwide Ticket Sales

Top 100 Tours

Top 100 Promoters

Top 100 Arenas

Top 100 Theatres

Top 100 Clubs

Top 25 Outdoor Sites

Top 50 Amphitheatres


Worldwide Business

The cumulative gross of $1.65 billion for the Top 50 Worldwide Tours indicates a healthy $166.2 million, or 11.2 percent, jump in total gross-dollar ticket sales for the globe’s biggest artists.

The total tickets sold by the Top 50 tours, however, was 19.4 million – down 2.1 percent from the same period one year ago.

The average gross for those same artists was up nearly $200,000, or 20.2 percent, from the previous year. The average tickets sold increased by about 5.8 percent to 13,762.

The most significant figure change in 2011 was in the average ticket price, which jumped a huge $10.23, or 13.6 percent, to an eye-popping $84.92.

The increased admission price seems to be spread throughout the chart rankings. There were 12 tours on this year’s chart that charged an average of more than $100 per ticket as compared to only eight last year. Even more interesting is the huge increase in tours hovering just below that magic three-digit price point. There were 22 tours charging more than $90 this year as compared to 12 tours last year.

U2 has dwarfed the competition with $164 million in worldwide ticket sales and also set the pace in North America, where the band generated $85.8 million through June 30. Roger Waters ranked No. 2 on the chart at $97.9 million without setting foot in North America this year.

The Top 50 Worldwide Tours chart was created by combining the detailed box office reports in the Pollstar database representing 76 percent of all shows played by those artists and then using our proprietary formula to project the numbers on the missing 24 percent of the dates.

North America Rebounds

Following the largely self- inflicted pain of 2010, the concert industry appears to have rebounded in 2011 with a total gross for the Top 100 North American Tours of $1.12 billion, an increase of nearly $157 million or 16.2 percent.

The total tickets sold was 16.7 million, an increase of 5.3 percent over the 15.9 million from one year ago. The average gross per show was up 7.3 percent to $453,254 while the average tickets sold was down slightly to 6,762.

The most noteworthy number again is the 10.2 percent or $6.25 increase in the average ticket price to a record $67.02. Coming off a down year in 2010, it is amazing that average prices could have spiked that high.

Pollstar has detailed box office reports in its database on 81 percent of the North American shows played by the Top 100 artists. The missing 19 percent of tour dates were estimated to provide the most comprehensive chart possible.

Top 100 Grosses

The biggest pay days in North America this year were dominated by Bon Jovi with 15 cities, Lady Gaga with 12 cities and U2, which managed to report 10 cities before June 30. Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney each added five cities while the Rod Stewart / Stevie Nicks package filled four slots.

The single biggest event was the nearly $25 million gross from the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.

The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, thanks largely to Celine Dion’s lengthy runs, took up eight chart positions. Madison Square Garden had six mega-grosses before shutting down for summer remodeling. Mexico City’s Auditorio Nacional had five while the city’s outdoor Foro Sol venue did four. The Bell Centre in Montreal also took up four slots while no other venue had more than three.

Live Nation produced 33 of the Top 100 grosses and was closely followed by 32 from AEG Live. The remaining shows were scattered among nearly two dozen other promoters.

Ticket Sales Charts

Live Nation’s decision to stop routine box office reporting last year continues to affect our worldwide Ticket Sales Charts. The concert behemoth still reported more than 7.8 million tickets sold to Pollstar. That is nearly 2 million fewer than a year ago but still enough to top the chart.

AEG Live came in second with nearly 5.5 million tickets reported sold, which was close to what the company did a year ago.

The arena and theatre charts indicate that business is stronger this year, especially on a global level.

The club venue chart also was more robust this year despite the paucity of Live Nation venues. In response to last year’s disastrous business results, Live Nation indicated it would do significantly fewer shows this year. Part of that cutback appears to be the riskier artist development concerts at the club level.

Live Nation also dominates the outdoor amphitheatre business in North America, so the company’s lack of reporting is glaringly obvious in that chart.

That market segment seems to be steadily decreasing in overall industry importance as the public continues to resist the expensive general admission lawn tickets needed to keep gross potentials in the same range as fixed-seat arenas.

Rampant discounting last year by Live Nation also tarnished the local public image of many sheds, to say nothing of the artists who saw their brand names on sandwich boards advertising greatly discounted tickets. Top company execs have indicated they learned from last year’s problems and it does appear that many more tours this year are including lower price points from the very beginning. Even U2 offered a $30 bottom price ticket for many of its dates.

Business Is Better

Most promoters are taking a more cautious approach to booking this year and are being rewarded with generally better business.

The artists themselves got the message from fans last year and most are following a conservative path when it comes to ticket pricing, number of dates, size of venues, length of time between market plays and the amount of money budgeted for support acts.

It all adds up to giving fans a better value for their dollar in tough economic times and the reward for that is fewer empty seats.



2011 1Q

Ticket Sales Charts Archive 2001-2010