Friday, September 28, 2012

Times: Barclays has undercut Garden's high prices for performers, though doesn't always pass on the savings

In Barclays Arena Rivals the Garden’s Glow, a New York Times Arts piece today reports that the Brooklyn arena has already established itself by booking some major acts and offering dates, and rates, unavailable at the busy, expensive Madison Square Garden:
“I consider it a godsend Barclays arena is there,” said Randy Phillips, the chief executive of AEG Live, one of the largest promoters in the country. “Prior to this we were really kind of held hostage on a tour to the availability of Madison Square Garden.”

The new $1 billion arena rises at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues like a modern sculpture, evoking a crashed alien spacecraft with its rusted-steel-and-glass facade and swooping lines. Inside, it is a sleek study in gray and black broken only by bright digital banners, with steeply raked rows of black seats that descend from the street level into the arena’s bowl. With clear sightlines and acoustic panels over hard surfaces to minimize reverb and noise, the space seems intimate yet open. For some, it is a symbol of Brooklyn’s cultural and economic renaissance, a sign the borough has come back from the long slide that started when the Dodgers left in 1957. But it is also a symbol of the borough’s growing stature as center for the arts.
It's also a symbol of the Culture of Cheating.

The prices

The Times reports some news:
Not surprisingly, Barclays has undercut the Garden’s prices for performers, which are among the highest in the industry. Several promoters said a band stands to earn between $150,000 and $250,000 more for a sold-out show at Barclays than for one at the Garden. For concertgoers that means ticket prices for some shows will be lower at Barclays as well: Neil Young fans can buy a seat for $58 at Barclays, versus $63 at the Garden, according to Ticketmaster. Yet tickets to other big shows — the Who and Justin Bieber for instance — are roughly the same price at both places.
This suggests that either costs at Barclays are lower and/or arena promoters are taking an initial lower cut in other to garner attention.

The future

The Times reports:
Barclays is likely to develop its own distinct personality as well, as promoters and arena officials discover what sort of acts resonate there. Jay-Z’s run of eight shows and involvement may cement it as a popular hip-hop stage. It also could become a forum for emerging acts that cannot yet command high ticket prices, older artists who want a larger profit margin or performers with ties to Brooklyn’s vibrant indie-rock scene.
How many other hip-hop acts has the Barclays Center booked? None, according to the events list. I think they very much don't want to be seen as a hip-hop venue.

The honeymoon

The Times reports:
[Jim Glancy, a partner in the Bowery Presents] said it will take time for the positions of the arenas to become defined. Barclays will enjoy a honeymoon period, as bands and their promoters give it a try, and the Garden’s renovations will not be completed until late next year. “The true test is years away,” Mr. Glancy said.
Indeed, though the test regarding the impact of arena operations starts tonight.

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