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Ticket Prices Rise, Attendance Down

Concert grosses for the first half of the year were up 17 percent, but so were ticket prices – the average cost of a ticket for top tours was about $51, compared to $47 last year, according to an industry report.

Attendance at concerts was down for a second straight year, according to the survey released Friday by Pollstar, a weekly trade publication.

The survey of the top 50 tours, including those by Paul McCartney, ‘N Sync ( news – web sites), the Dave Matthews Band and Creed, showed that from January to June, the top tours recorded about $538 million in sales, compared to last year’s $508 million.

The record for that period was in 2000, when $579 million worth of tickets were sold.

But the survey also showed that the top 50 concerts combined sold about 10.6 million tickets, down 300,000, or 3 percent, from last year. In 2000, 12.9 million tickets were sold in the first half of the year.

“When you’ve lost essentially 2 million ticket buyers in the space of a couple of years, you have to wonder where those people went and what it will take to bring them back,” Gary Bongiovanni of Pollstar said Monday.

The top-grossing tour was Paul McCartney’s, which grossed about $53 million. That was followed by Billy Joel and Elton John; the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunion tour; ‘N Sync; and the Dave Matthews Band.

McCartney had one of the highest average ticket prices – about $130 per ticket. The only act in the top 50 with a higher average ticket cost – $152 per ticket – was classical tenor Andrea Bocelli ( news – web sites), who only performed six shows.

The tour that sold the most tickets had one of the least expensive average ticket prices. The Green Day/Blink 182 tour charged an average of $32 per ticket.

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