The aisle seat is the latest hot commodity at a concert, and primary markets are cashing in on this idea in an attempt to further profit off of concertgoers.
Ticketing giant Live Nation has begun to offer aisle seats for select shows with a surcharge between $5 and $30 per seat, labeling them, as well as three seats into the row, as “premium aisle seats.” These seats are being promoted as an option for fans who want to “enjoy the convenience of easy access to refreshments, restrooms, and venue exits.”
For now, the price hikes for aisle seats must be approved by both the artist and the promoter.
Larry Webman, Paradigm agent who helped book Sara Bareilles’ latest tour, told Billboard that a lot of artists are doing this because people will pay more for them.
“You look at the seat map and the aisle seats are all sold,” Webman said. “Live Nation pitched that it works, and in Sara’s case we rolled the dice with them and it seems to be coming to fruition.”
On Bareilles’ upcoming Amidst The Chaos Tour, these premium aisle seats are up-for-grabs. While a normal ticket at the Hollywood Bowl Section K2 are priced at $59.50, aisle seats are priced for $10 more for $69.50.
This tactic is seen again for the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience. When the upcoming tour stops at the TD Pavilion at the Mann in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, seats in the main section are priced at $99.50. However, the two aisle seats are jacked up to $119.50.
Artist Group International chairman Dennis Arfa explained to Billboard that the idea is “such a no-brainer” that he’s surprised no one has thought of it before.
“Many of our shows, whether it’s Billy Joel or Rod Stewart, we’ve noticed that the aisle seats are a contribution to the face-lift of the tickets. On an arena or stadium act, it could easily be six figures a night. If you’re a theater act and it’s 20 grand a night, that’s a big number.”
While a handful of venues have already experimented with boosting prices of aisle seats, this idea may be something that becomes a regular offer at concerts, adding yet another fee onto the ticket’s price tag.