Top 25 Tours of ’08: Geeking Out on the Data

Top 25 Tours of ’08: Geeking Out on the Data

The other day I was getting a haircut from Heather, my trusted ‘hair designer.’ During the course of our usual banter, I told her about this blog. The resulting discussion between her and the other patrons focused on the $5,000 ticket price they heard someone paid to see Madonna and how crazy that person is and unfair it is that ticket scalping is legal, etc, etc… This conversation frustrated me and is the reason why I am sit here at 1am writing this post.

To be sure, resold ticket prices are not cheap, but as I will explain on another day, the face value of the tickets are artificially low and that results in so much resale activity. The good news is that the proliferation of reselling offers more price variety and that means you won’t have to spend anywhere near $5,000, or $500 to see popular artists.

Geek out time.

Every year, Billboard Magazine publishes the top 25 tours and concerts of 2008. The average person may look at these charts and obsess over the eight and nine (yes NINE) figure revenues tours produce. Though it is fascinating to me that a band as old as Bon Jovi could possibly do 99 shows in 365 days, or that the Spice Girls are even on this list, a ticket geek of my variety takes joy in crunching the numbers for my hair designers (and her patrons) benefit.

I did a little futzing with Billboard’s numbers and added in ticket price data from StubHub’s 2008 Annual Report. This data is a little imperfect because Billboard reports from November to November and StubHub does a calendar year, still the average numbers give a good enough idea of how average ticket prices from a primary seller (like TicketMaster) might compare with StubHub (a fixed price reseller).

The net result of this analysis is that Madonna tickets had the highest average price, but they also had the highest average face value. Yes, average means some tickets sold above these numbers, but some also sold below the average. The other point of note is that sell out ratio did not really effect average resale price, compare Madonna to the Eagles… or Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen for that matter. I have not proven it yet, but I am quite sure that sell out hype is not a driver of resold ticket prices (though it may drive volume).

TAKE AWAY: Average resale numbers are not cheap, but they are not as insane as my hair designer might presume and in all truth, if one really wants to see Madonna or the Eagles, know that you can buy a pair of decent tickets below the average resale prices – especially if you follow the advice I have posted on this site. Note: The Stub Hub numbers in BOLD are their top ten average ticket prices in 2008. Also, StubHub only reports average ticket prices over $100 so, the n/a are either under $100, or the tours did not have tickets resold on StubHub.

Top 25 Tour Ticket Prices for 2008