North Americans snap up concert tickets at deep discounts

Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:32pm EDT
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By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Unemployment is up and consumer confidence is down, but one silver lining of the recession is that last-minute tickets to hear big acts like Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen are as little as $1.

According to eBay Inc's StubHub, the leading Internet ticket re-seller, last-minute concert ticket sales at sharply lower prices are on the rise for acts like Paul McCartney, Springsteen, Jonas Brothers, Coldplay, and U2.

"People often assume a secondary ticket site only offers inflated prices, but it's very challenging right now," said Sean Pate, a spokesman for San Francisco-based StubHub.

He said cheap prices were not showing up just for "nosebleed" seats or lawn seats, but rather in all seat locations for top performers.

"This trend of lower resale ticket pricing is very variable. It's almost like a stock market and a barometer for pricing city by city," he said.

He said fans have already purchased tickets as low as $1 for Springsteen and Coldplay, $9 for Kenny Chesney and $10 for the Jonas Brothers this season, with tickets listing for as low as $16 for upcoming McCartney shows this weekend in Maryland.

According to Pollstar, a concert industry trade magazine, the concert industry in North America is off to another record year, with the top 100 tours grossing a combined $1.6 billion for the first half of 2009, up $113.5 million or 10.8 percent over the same period in the first six months of 2008.

Indeed, the nation's leading concert promoter, Live Nation Inc, said recently that U.S. concert ticket sales this summer were surprisingly strong despite a weaker economy.   Continued...