Tickets for Garth Brooks‘ performance at the Calgary Stampede sold out in 58 seconds leaving fans and ticket resellers questioning whether a majority of the ticket inventory was actually made available during the time of the onsale.
According to the Calgary Herald the sale was the fastest sellout in the Calgary Stampede’s history with 15,322 tickets to the July 12 show at the Saddledome sold in under a minute.
“We’re happy it sold out but we knew it was going to be hugely popular,” Calgary Stampede publicity manager Jennifer Booth told the Calgary Herald. “This is one of the biggest shows we’ve ever had.”
Recognized in 2007 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as the best-selling solo artist in American album history, Brooks helped make country music more mainstream and expose the genre to a wider audience.
Brooks, who signed on to perform at the Calgary Stampede to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the festival, last performed publically in Calgary in August 1996 during a sold out three-night stop at the Saddledome. The singer retired from touring in 1998 and now performs a one-man show at the Encore Theater in Las Vegas created specifically for the Wynn Resort and Casino.
Known for selling out shows, Brooks’ first five weekends of his one-man show sold out in about five hours and were later sold by ticket resellers for as much as $1,000 over face value, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
While officials for Calgary Stampede are happy with the number of sales for the show, many fans are disappointed that they were unable to purchase a ticket for the July show and are questioning how tickets were made available on resale sites within minutes, according to the Metro Calgary. Fans and even some ticket resellers are claiming that only 20 percent of tickets were made available for purchase.
The Metro Calgary reported that Ticketmaster spokesperson Jacqueline Peterson stated more than 90 percent of the tickets for the July performance were made available during the 10 a.m. onsale and while the popular ticket seller did inquire about the number of tickets sold, an investigation would continue.
According to Booth, officials took every precaution to make sure that tickets were distributed fairly — there were no presales or fan club purchases and tickets were limited to six per person, the Calgary Herald reported.
Face value for tickets for Brooks’ Calgary Stampede appearance is $62, but fans who were unable to secure a ticket will have to purchase their tickets from the secondary market. As of April 24, a majority of tickets listed on StubHub ranged from $307-$4,900, with some selling for as much as $10,611.
Will Flaherty, Director of Communications for SeatGeek said he was unaware that there was such a strong demand for the show. “We’ve (SeatGeek) recorded an average price of $507 for tickets to this event so far,” said Flaherty in a recent email to TicketNews. “We’ve seen fans spend as much as $875 for floor seats, and the cheapest ticket we’ve seen sell has been for $225 — over three times the face value.”
Fans should not get discouraged just yet — according to Flaherty, because so many tickets have been bought by resellers with a high markup, prices are bound to fall prior to the show. “Just as a comparison, Garth Brooks’ show at the Wynn Casino has generally seen averages in the $450 range,” said Flaherty. “But that venue has only 1500 seats, while the Saddledome in Calgary has closer to 16,000. It’s hard to see prices staying up this high given that there are just so many more tickets floating around out there on the marketplace.”
The Calgary Stampede will take place July 6-15 and was recently named on Travelocity’s list of top-10 festivals, compiled from a poll of Travelocity employees who named the must-see festivals for travelers in North America, according to a press release on MarketWatch. Other performers announced so far include popular country artists Braid Paisley and the Band Perry as well as Canadian Johnny Reid as listed on the Calgary Stampede website.
Brooks’ publicist Nancy Seitzer told the Calgary Herald that a second show in Calgary is impossible. Fans who want to see Brooks can catch him in his live show in Las Vegas with the next performance on June 8, according to the Wynn Las Vegas website.
TicketNews spoke with Flaherty about whether adding another Calgary date would be beneficial to fans to which he said, “Adding another date would probably help bring down the secondary market price somewhat, though based on historicals and some of the data we’ve seen on previous Garth Brooks shows, it’s hard to see any way prices would fall much lower than $200 on average.”