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Wall Street Journal: Is the Guns N’ Roses Summer Stadium Tour Too Ambitious?

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Wall Street Journal: Is the Guns N’ Roses Summer Stadium Tour Too Ambitious?

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:17 pm

Neil Shah wrote:Is the Guns N’ Roses Summer Stadium Tour Too Ambitious?
The band is packing stadiums, but some empty seats show the challenges of mounting mega-tours

There are signs concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment may have overestimated the appetite for this summer’s blockbuster 25-date Guns N’ Roses reunion tour.

Two recent shows saw weak ticket sales, with reports of sections of stadiums being closed off. Last week, some 27,000 fans saw Guns N’ Roses at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Live Nation says—a sizable crowd but one far below Detroit’s sellout of 41,000.

This past weekend, Guns N’ Roses’ first of two shows at Soldier Field in Chicago was sold out, but the second Sunday show was not as well-attended, with the stadium’s upper deck vacant on one side. The empty seats were noted on social media.

The Los Angeles hard-rock band has already played six dates in its “Not in This Lifetime” North American tour, which features Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan together for the first time since 1993. Drummer Steven Adler joined the band for two songs in Cincinnati Wednesday night. Reviews have been strong and performances in Detroit and Washington, D.C., were packed. The tour is sure to be one of the top tours of the year.

The concert run has been “hugely successful,” said Bob Roux, co-president of U.S. concerts for Live Nation, the promoter. Live Nation expects to make a profit—eventually selling 1 million tickets, or roughly 90% of tickets available, he added. Live Nation focuses on the tour’s overall profits, not individual shows, he said. Of the 25 shows, 12 have sold out or are close to it, and Live Nation says it expects to sell out five more. The average ticket price so far is $130.

“The band wants to play certain cities,” including Kansas City, Mr. Roux said. “On virtually any tour we do, the larger cities generally outperform those with smaller populations.”

In Kansas City, Guns N’ Roses grossed nearly $3.5 million. “No one would ever have believed in my business that you would go into Kansas City and sell out,” said Steve Herman, senior vice president of touring for Live Nation. As for the second day in Chicago, he said that since the first show was a sellout, 71,000 tickets were sold in all, grossing nearly $9 million.

The unsold seats show the difficulty of gauging pent-up demand for unique events such as the current Guns N’ Roses tour.

Concert promoters decide whether to add multiple dates by looking at the size of demand for an initial show, but it can be “something of a crapshoot,” says Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar, a trade publication. Special events such as reunions add to the complexity, and scalpers buying tickets with “bots” further blur the picture. Just because 40,000 tickets sell out fast and 55,000 fans want tickets doesn’t mean a second show will fare well. Then there’s the issue of competition in a busy summer season, and routing a tour efficiently through the country.

It’s not easy to sell out one night in a stadium, let alone two. Only mega-acts such as Beyoncé and the Rolling Stones exclusively tour at such huge venues. Even Taylor Swift didn’t only play stadiums last year, but also indoor arenas, which typically seat about 15,000 to 20,000.

Empty seats can hurt the bottom line of promoters such as Live Nation, which typically need to sell a certain amount of tickets nightly—a sellout or a near-sellout—to make up for and exceed the huge fees they pay star performers on big tours. Tickets are still available for several of Guns N’ Roses’ upcoming shows.

o maximize ticket sales, Live Nation went with a full-stadium tour, instead of playing a combination of arenas and stadiums. In late April, they added second shows in four cities: Chicago, Foxborough, Mass., East Rutherford, N.J., and Los Angeles.

Live Nation was earlier even considering second shows in Detroit and San Francisco but decided against it, said Mister Saint Laurent, the editor of GNRtruth.com, who says he’s seen a tentative tour itinerary from early March. “Live Nation just got a little overambitious,” Mister Saint Laurent says. “Adding shows in Chicago and Boston were big mistakes.” Live Nation disputes this.

Pollstar’s Mr. Bongiovanni said that through June, the band has grossed over $30 million from various dates, including two successful shows at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The current North American stadium tour started June 23. International tour dates are likely in the cards.
Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/is-the-guns-n-roses-summer-stadium-tour-too-ambitious-1467931049

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Re: Wall Street Journal: Is the Guns N’ Roses Summer Stadium Tour Too Ambitious?

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:23 pm

Statement from Live Nation:

Update 7/8/16 (6:45 pm): Live Nation added the following statement: “Guns N Roses’ Not in This Lifetime Tour is an unqualified success. Not only is it the #1 rock tour of the summer, it will be one of the top grossing tours of 2016 and one of the most successful reunion tours of all time. At six shows into the tour, it has already grossed more than $100,000,000 in ticket sales. Live Nation expects to surpass 1 million tickets sold and we congratulate the band on this monumental achievement.”
Source: http://fortune.com/2016/07/08/guns-n-roses-empty-seats/

Still, many news media are reporting this news now.
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