Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Chesney vie for top tour

Sun Jul 27, 2008 2:58am EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Glory Days" are here again for Bruce Springsteen, whose upcoming tour could make him the biggest touring artist of the year in North America.

Springsteen and his E Street Band, who kick off the second leg of their North American tour in New Jersey on Sunday, will vie for the crown with fellow Garden State rockers Bon Jovi and country singer Kenny Chesney, according to Pollstar magazine.

Each artist should end the year with ticket sales of about $70 million, said Gary Bongiovanni, the editor of the Fresno, Calif.-based trade publication.

That's a modest sum by past standards. The Police were tops last year with $132 million, while the Rolling Stones led the field in 2006 with $138.5 million and in 2005 with a record $162 million. Springsteen won the 2003 derby with $116 million.

The last time a year's top touring act earned less than $70 million was in 1999 when the Rolling Stones grossed $65 million from a relatively brief arena tour.

"The economy's got to be affecting everything," Bongiovanni said in an interview.

The credit crunch and higher fuel prices are keeping fans at home. Concert promoters have responded by cutting prices of their cheap seats, while many rockers are seeking economies of scale by playing bigger markets.

At the half-year mark, Bon Jovi led with $56.3 million, followed by Springsteen with $40.8 million, Van Halen with $36.8 million, and Chesney with $35.3 million, Pollstar said.   Continued...

<p>Bruce Springsteen (L), Little Steven van Zandt (R) and the E Street Band perform at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki July 11, 2008. REUTERS/Hannu Kivimaki/Lehtikuva</p>