Madison Square Garden (MSG) took the title of best performing venue for the third week in a row, according to TicketNews’ exclusive venues rankings...

Madison Square Garden (MSG) took the title of best performing venue for the third week in a row, according to TicketNews’ exclusive venues rankings for the week ending Sunday, January 2.

MSG is home to two popular teams, the New York Rangers and New York Knicks, with Knicks ticket sales taking the team to number three in TicketNews’ Top Sports Events rankings this week. In March, the fan favorite WWE (at number nine in this week’s Top Sports) tour makes its second stop at MSG this season.

In the final days of its holiday run, Cirque Du Soleil’s Wintuk at the Theater at Madison Square Garden also boosted MSG’s numbers, hitting at number seven in this week’s Top Broadway Events rankings. The December 29 concert from Prince (at number nine in this week’s Top Concert Events rankings), the first of two in the coming weeks, also helped MSG’s holiday week performance. In other concerts, Lady Gaga (at number two in Top Concerts) and Bon Jovi (at number six) hit the MSG stage in February. Madison Square Garden power scored an impressive 6.16 this week.

Up three from last week, the University of Phoenix Stadium finished the week at number two with a power score of 3.57. The home to the Arizona Cardinals was host to the New Year’s Day Fiesta Bowl pitting the University of Connecticut Huskies against the Oklahoma Sooners, which the Sooners won 48-20. The Stadium also has the January 10 2011 BCS National Championship Bowl between the Auburn Tigers and the Oregon Ducks, with Tigers ticket sales once again taking the game to number one this week in Top Sports.

Making a big move this week was the American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL, up six to number three and power scoring a 2.82. The venue’s numbers likely got a boost from the much hyped December 28 home matchup between its Miami Heat and New York Knicks, with the Heat taking the game at 106-98. Overall sales for Heat tickets this week took the team to number two in the Top Sports rankings. Upcoming musical artists visiting the Arena include Lady Gaga, who hits the stage in April.

Chicago’s Cadillac Palace jumped up one to take the number four position this week, with two high performing musicals helping its cause this week. The venue is currently running a production of Wicked, which dominated both the Top Theater and Top Events rankings this week. “Wicked” closes at the end of January, with Les Miserables (at number five in Top Theater this week) opening in the first week of February. Cadillac Palace finished the week with a power score of 2.11.

Falling three from last week was the TD Garden (Fleet Center) in Boston, MA, in at number five and power scoring a 2.04. The Garden is home to two legendary teams, the Boston Bruins and the Boston Celtics, whose sales brought them to number six in this week’s Top Sports rankings. The popular WWE tour makes a stop at the Garden on January 30, and Disney on Ice: Toy Story 3 (taking number nine in Top Theater this week), begins a run in February. In concerts, Lady Gaga and Bon Jovi arrive in March, and the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys tour, taking number eight in this week’s Top Concerts, hits the stage in June.

Also dropping three spots this week was the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA, down to number six with a power score of 2.04. Staples is home to the Lakers (hitting at number five in this week’s Top Sports) and Clippers of the NBA, as well as the NHL’s Kings. In upcoming concerts, Staples has Lady Gaga in March, the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys tour in July, and Taylor Swift (again taking number one in this week’s Top Concerts rankings) for four shows in August.

Fan excitement over the Kansas City Chiefs making the playoffs took Arrowhead Stadium to number seven this week, its first top ten rankings placement this season. The 10-6 Chiefs have clinched their AFC West Division and meet the Baltimore Ravens at home in the January 9 AFC Wild Card playoffs. Ticket sales for the Chiefs took the Wild Card game to number four in this week’s Top Sports. In concerts, the stadium will see the Kenny Chesney and the Zac Brown Band (at number ten in this week’s Top Concerts) in July and Taylor Swift in September. Arrowhead Stadium power scored a 1.80 this week.

The Gershwin Theatre dropped two spots this week to take the number eight position. Power scoring a 1.75, the Gershwin continues to be a top ten finisher week after week on continued strong sales for its hit musical, “Wicked,” which once again took the top spot in the Top Theater, Top Broadway and Top Events rankings this week.

Returning to the top ten after several months was the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV, in at number nine. The Arena has a number of top selling musical artists arriving in the coming months, including the popular George Strait/Reba McEntire/Lee Ann Womack tour (at number three in this week’s Top Concerts) in February, as well as Bon Jovi and Lady Gaga in March. Another strong contributor to the venue’s performance this week is the May 7 bout between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley, sales for which brought Pacquiao to number eight in this week’s Top Sports rankings. The MGM Grand Garden Arena power scored a 1.72 this week.

Rounding out this week’s top ten was the United Center in Chicago, IL, in at ten and power scoring a 1.59. The home to the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks also starts a run of “Disney on Ice: Toy Story 3” in February. A busy slate of upcoming concerts includes dates from Kid Rock (hitting at number five in this week’s Top Concerts) and Lady Gaga in February, Bon Jovi in March, the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys in June, and Taylor Swift in August.

With the exception of a few Bowl game and NFL playoff venues, indoor sports and concert arenas dominated the rankings this week. The Cadillac Palace again joined the Gershwin on the list for a total of two theaters in the top ten this week.

TicketNews Exclusive Rankings and Power Scores are based on ticket sales for venues from the TicketNetwork Exchange™, the world’s largest secondary market exchange. A Power Score illustrates a given venue’s category-specific significance. Two factors are used to calculate a power score: total ticket sales for a venue, and total ticket sales within the category. As such, power scores should only be used to compare venues within a particular category.

Top Venues

Week Ending 1/2/2011

       Venue Score
1 Madison Square Garden Tickets 6.16
2 University Of Phoenix Stadium Tickets 3.57
3 American Airlines Arena Tickets 2.82
4 Cadillac Palace Tickets 2.11
5 TD Garden (Fleet Center) Tickets 2.04
6 Staples Center Tickets 2.04
7 Arrowhead Stadium Tickets 1.80
8 Gershwin Theatre Tickets 1.75
9 MGM Grand Garden Arena Tickets 1.72
10 United Center Tickets 1.59
11 Wells Fargo Center – PA (formerly Wachovia Center) Tickets 1.32
12 Georgia Dome Tickets 1.31
13 Caesars Palace – Colosseum Tickets 1.22
14 Dallas Cowboys Stadium Tickets 1.20
15 Gillette Stadium Tickets 1.05
16 Pantages Theatre – CA Tickets 1.02
17 Heinz Field Tickets 0.97
18 Pepsi Center Tickets 0.93
19 Verizon Center – DC Tickets 0.92
20 Lambeau Field Tickets 0.92

By Kelly McWilliams