Sold-Out Seat Licenses Point To Strong Demand For Moody Center Concerts

LICENSE TO CHILL: Concert members get first rights to buy tickets to any of the concerts booked at the new Moody Center arena in on the University of Texas campus in Austin. The licenses are sold out and several thousand people have paid $100 just to get on the waiting list.

Moody Center has topped $25 million in ticket sales as the new arena’s slate of concerts grows and one aspect of the sales strategy has surpassed expectations – the venue’s concert memberships program.

In Austin, where Oak View Group is privately financing Moody Center, the program is similar to the donor points system in college sports where alumni pay yearly fees to secure the best seats for football and basketball games.

The 2,000 seats tied to the concert membership program are sold out. Memberships cost $2,000 to $7,000 per seat annually, depending on location, according to Ryan Coyle, OVG’s vice president of premium sales. Terms are three, five and 10 years.

“Memberships provide the ability to purchase seats prior to the public on-sale with access to one of our three private clubs,” said Coyle, referring to the arena’s Dell Technologies Club, Indeed Club and Germania Insurance Club.

In addition to the select lower bowl seats, those buying concert memberships have exclusive access to premium food offerings and private bars.

There’s a long waitlist of people that paid $100 deposits to buy concert memberships. Those on the list get the opportunity to purchase tickets for select shows based on availability, Coyle said.

Jeff Nickler, Moody Center’s general manager, said the concert membership program is unique among major market venues in that it isn’t tied to sports, but “purely for the opportunity to buy music.”

To date, Moody Center’s concert lineup is impressive with John Mayer set to take the stage April 20 and 21, Bon Jovi on April 23, and Justin Bieber on April 27. In the fall, Roxy Music plays the arena on Sept. 21.

The venue’s official grand opening is April 29-30 with George Strait and special guests Willie Nelson & Family and the Randy Rogers Band. 

Other confirmed dates include the Dave Matthews Band, Eagles, The Who, Jack White and Roger Waters.

Nickler said it wasn’t the strong lineup of shows that necessarily drove sales. He explained, “We sold most of the memberships before we had a show on sale or announced.” 

The arena’s 44 suites, priced from $275,000 to $400,000 annually, are sold out on seven and 10-year terms. The average cost of a suite is $340,000 a year, Coyle said.

Moody Center Assistant General Manager Casey Sparks said demand has exceeded capacity and exclusivity played a key role for selling suites.

“We weren’t shy with how we priced out these premium areas,” Sparks said. “If anything, it created even more demand because people were like, ‘This must really be a big deal.’ I think the pricing drove demand, which is an interesting strategy.”

Nickler marveled at how the premium seat campaigns played out over the past few years in arena development. He said, “To be able to open the doors with every single suite and all 2,000 of your club seat licenses sold is tremendous. In fact, we have a very long waiting list.”

Nickler projects 50 to 60 concerts coming through in year one. Concert memberships extend to first right to buy tickets for family shows such as WWE, Disney on Ice, the Harlem Globetrotters and mixed martial arts.

“The demand for tickets (overall) has been through the roof,” he said. “We’re just getting started and we have nearly 200,000 tickets sold.”