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Barclays ranks first in U.S. for 2013 concert ticket sales, third in world; MSG lags, but also has many more sporting events (as of now)

Via Pollstar 
It's clear that a lot of people, myself included, didn't recognize exactly how many musical acts would glom onto a (mostly) well-run new indoor venue accessible via public transit.

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.

Via Pollstar
Barclays bookings

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.
Some but not all of the acts that filled the arena--notably Barbra Streisand and the Stones--are not about to return annually, though Jay-Z surely can sell out, as can Beyonce.

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.

The Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance's ninth Community Tickets Giveaway, to be held next Monday, will only distribute tickets to Bieber and Beyonce.


  1. Anonymous12:39 PM

    There were actually 29 Rangers hockey games at MSG in calendar year 2013 to date including those in the strike shortened season (which didnt begin until January 2013) and the playoffs.

    You are correct that in a typical year there will be 40 regular season home games plus preseason and playoff appearances.

    By any measure, however, Barclays is killing MSG on the concert business, even if you discount the Stones and Streisand, who played a total of 3 show, all in 2012. It would be more interesting to see the value of the tickets sold vs. the total number of tickets.

  2. You left out that MSG was closed for three months for renovations....


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