But the data suggest that not only is the Barclays Center far outdistancing less accessible arenas like the Nassau Coliseum and the Prudential Center, it's well ahead of Madison Square Garden, though that designation deserves an asterisk.
As the L Magazine pointed out yesterday, the 2013 mid-year report from concert-ticket tracker Pollstar shows the Barclays Center third in the world in ticket sales--nearly 660,000 in six months, and first in the United States, behind venues in London and Manchester,
MSG & hockey
While the L tweaked "poor Madison Square Garden hanging out down there in the number 29 spot," it should be noted that MSG currently houses two professional teams, not one, which means that 45 or so hockey games fill dates in Manhattan, nudging out concerts.
MSG typically hosts the New York Liberty, but due to renovations that WNBA team is temporarily playing at Newark's Prudential Center. MSG also hosts St. John's basketball.
Also, as the Times reported last September, MSG's typical costs are high and profit margins low, and it's tough to get two consecutive nights there, which means bookers have welcomed Barclays:
[Jim Glancy of 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.So it'll be interesting in 2015 (or earlier), when the Islanders come to Brooklyn, to see how much hockey will limit concert bookings. And it certainly hints at why arena developer Bruce Ratner, who's put together a group to revamp the Coliseum, is willing to offer that venue several Islanders games.
The L credited Barclays Center bookers:
Handled by AEG Live, the company behind shabby upstart festivals like Coachella, its pulled in more than a few heavy hitters since opening in September. Jay-Z's eight-night run of sold-out shows have ushered in the likes of Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Green Day and The Postal Service in recent months. Superstar idiot Justin Bieber, Depeche Mode, Fall Out Boy, Beyonce, Vampire Weekend(!), Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the glittery debauchery of the MTV Video Music Awards are on the docket in the near future.
Note that, in 2012, Barclays was 32nd on the list, with some 356,000 tickets sold, despite having been open barely more than three months. (Over the year, MSG, which was undergoing renovations, had about 454,000.)
The arena does not have to be filled daily to be near the top of the Pollstar list. While the Barclays Center is said to be able to house 19,000 people for concerts, stage arrangements typically put sections of the arena off limits.
So 15,000 is a very good crowd. To get to the half-year total of nearly 660,000 tickets, that means 44 shows--fewer than 8/month--that sell 15,000 tickets. Or, rather, more shows, including some that don't sell out.
The August lineup
While the Barclays Center in August offers some very high-profile events, including a return visit by Justin Bieber, three shows by Beyonce, and the MTV Video Music Awards, only seven of 31 days are booked as of now.