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Barclays Center crows, per Billboard, it was the world's top-grossing venue in April. (Thank Nicki Minaj and Bad Bunny?) In 2022, it ranked twelfth, in 2023, tenth.

From Barclays Center Twitter/X
The Barclays Center had a very good April, they tell us, tweeting yesterday that the arena was the top grossing venue in the world, according to Billboard, a publication that tracks concerts, family shows, and other events--but not pro sports.

I'd be curious to see the actual numbers, because it didn't look like that busy a month--unless, maybe, they added May 1 to April, thus appending one of Nicki Minaj's two huge shows.

As Billboard reported. in Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday 2 World Tour Is Already the Highest Grossing Rap Tour for a Woman — and It Isn’t Over Yet , "Two nights at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on April 4 and May 1 proved the biggest [on her tour], with $4.3 million and 28,100 tickets."

The April calendar

The April 2024 event calendar, as seen below, also featured three Bad Bunny concerts, which reportedly sold out. I think Billboard also counted the comedy show and WWE, since pro wrestling is as much entertainment as sports, but I don't think it counted the boxing card.

Drilling down

So what might explain the unusual numbers, given that Barclays--as shown below--is typically among the Top Ten venues, not the top spot?

First, it's likely that the return to Ticketmaster, as I suggested, has driven more bookings and ticket sales, as has the post-COVID resumption of concert tours. (So too has the rise of the New York Liberty, though such tickets aren't counted by Billboard.)

I suspect April was a bit unusual. Keep in mind that the Brooklyn Nets' season ended in mid-April, which released left open dates that, theoretically, might have been filled.

I don't think they were, but Barclays still bested Madison Square Garden, typically the world's leader, which had six concerts, a relatively small number, given Knicks and Rangers playoff games.

MSG had four Olivia Rodrigo concerts, with tickets, according to Brooklyn Vegan, ranging from $27 to $199.50. I'm not sure what Nicki Minaj tickets sold for in Brooklyn, but remaining seats for a Madison Square Garden show in September start at $126.70.

Also note that gross receipts don't translate directly into profits. Barclays grossed big numbers in its debut year, but also had high costs.

Looking back

Barclays hasn't claimed that top spot, to my memory, in a long while. It's trying to get back to early days, especially given the impact of COVID and the split from--and return to--Ticketmaster.

In 2013, under Billboard's count (which actually began in mid-November 2012), the arena welcomed 1,135,505 people, grossing $83.5 million, over 137 shows. That ranked the arena as first in the U.S. and third in the world among similarly sized venues, seating at least 15,000 people.

In 2014, by contrast, Barclays ranked second in the country and fourth in the world, grossing $60 million from 867,927 attendees over 139 shows, according to Billboard. So bigger names in 2013 meant higher gross--not net--revenue.

Let's see how that compares to recent years.

2019 results

According to Billboard, in 2019--which may not have matched the calendar year--Barclays grossed $68.5 million over 82 shows, ranking ninth in the world among large indoor venues. That number of events has not been equaled since, though gross revenues have exceeded that figure.

2020 results

According to Billboard, in its 2020 tally, Barclays grossed $36.6 million over 52 shows, ranking fifth in the world. Note that Billboard's calendar surely includes some late 2019 shows, given that Barclays, among other venues, was shuttered by the pandemic.

2021 results

According to Billboard, in 2021, Barclays was not even in the world's top 25 venues, though Madison Square Garden, with 17 shows, ranked second.

2022 results

According to Billboard, in 2022, Barclays grossed $70.6 million over 71 shows, ranking twelfth in the world. Note that the publication's "year" is from Nov. 1, 2021 through Oct. 31, 2022.

2023 results

According to Billboard, in 2023, Barclays grossed $73.7 million over 71 shows, ranking tenth in the world.

Oddly, Billboard reports this "year" as only eleven months, from Nov. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2023. So an extra month surely would've added to the total.