By Alfred Branch, Jr.
Concert promoters and ticket brokers still think Rod Stewart is sexy.
With CD sales slowing, more artists are looking at touring to generate revenue, and the driving force continues to be more established acts. Five of Pollstar’s top 10 highest-grossing tours so far this year are older acts, such as Stewart, Eric Clapton and the Police. Stewart was followed in the top three by Justin Timberlake and the Police, who are expected to dominate the year-end totals because most of their shows are in stadiums and are scheduled for the second half of the year.
In Stewart’s case, the 62-year-old British superstar is laying claim to the highest grossing U.S. tour at the halfway point by amassing $48.1 million, according to Pollstar. Average ticket prices for his shows was $76.93. . .
More established acts, whether it was the Rolling Stones last year or the Police this year, are consistently mounting stronger tours, especially the stadium tours that younger artists can’t touch without the help of several additional bands on the bill.
Perhaps there is some validity to all that talk about 50 being the new 30.
Stewart, who has turned to performing American standards in addition to his pop hits, has consistently ranked in the Top 10 concerts based on ticket sales, according to TicketNews’ exclusive weekly ranking. His previous best six-month total, Pollstar recorded, was $42.5 million for January through June of 2004.
Timberlake, who has a glitzy HBO special debuting in September, is one of the exceptions to the rule about younger acts not selling as well as more established artists. For the first half of 2007, Timberlake generated $42.3 million, with an average ticket price comparable to Stewart’s at $73.83.
The Police, who are touring for the first time in more than 20 years, were third with $41.9 million. An average ticket for the show sold for $115.79. Experts predict the tour will easily surpass the $100 million mark for the year.