Just hours before he was scheduled to take the stage on Wednesday in Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen’s team announced that the show would be postponed, due to the singer “having been taken ill.” The show, along with a second Citizen’s Bank Ballpark concert set for Friday, were both pushed back to a date to be announced later.

Those who have tickets to the impacted shows can hold on to them, as they will be good for the new dates once those are announced. No reschedule dates have yet been planned.

Similarly to the cancellation of shows during the first leg of the Springsteen tour, this late call-off raises significant questions regarding the ticket sales strategy employed by the legend and his management. Specifically, did the famously aggressive use of surged “dynamic” ticket pricing and “platinum” prices doom the tour to an endless cycle of postponements for poor-selling shows that is just getting started?

Philadelphia’s shows were sold through the Paciolan/Tickets.com system employed by Citizen’s Bank Ballpark and the Phillies organization, which doesn’t show a full seat-by-seat map of available inventory. That said, it was clear when reviewed by TicketNews staff earlier this week that a large quantity of previously held-back tickets had been released for purchase, ranging up from $80 per seat in the 400-level to several hundred dollars for non-platinum seats on the field (after fees). A look at next week’s shows in Massachusetts paint an even more stark picture:

A screenshot from Ticketmaster of the Saturday, August 26 show at Gillette Stadium shows that organizers have more than 10,000 seats still available for purchase. These were seats that were not shown as available as recently as last week, meaning they were purposefully held-back from view by organizers in order to deceive those shopping for tickets to entice them to buy, believing there weren’t many left and they’d have to pay the asking price, even if it was too high.

Prices shown now range from $61.11 after fees – though Ticketmaster displays those at $38.66 despite a high profile promise to the Biden administration earlier this year to embrace “all-in” prices – from the box office.

Things seem far less dire for the Thursday show at the same venue next week, paridoxically. There are only around 1,000 seats displayed as available at Ticketmaster, and the majority of those are displayed as resale tickets.

For these shows, the minimum asking price after fees for these resale seats is $69.81 – and there are a LOT of seats at exactly that asking price after fees, and a lot more at exactly $70.21.

But the sea of red dots is likely just an indication that the organizers have yet to release the flood of held-back tickets that remain unsold for Thursday’s show, in hopes of moving tickets for Saturday first. A solid clue to this reality can be found in resale marketplaces that aren’t controlled by the event promoter.

ticketflipping provides valuable tools for ticket resale professionals

Thursday’s show for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Gillette has tickets going for as low as $37 – including fees – at TicketClub.com. Lower level seats start at just over $100, and field seats are about $50 more than that on the low end.

Other ticket resale marketplaces are similarly situated with price points far less than the “official” box office. StubHub has Thursday tickets for as low as $46 after fees. MEGASeats has tickets available for as low as $38 (after a 10% discount for TicketNews readers is applied) This points to the continued use of “price floors” by the event organizers to keep ticket resale prices from falling below what they want to allow tickets to sell for, because there is primary inventory remaining held-back for future sale.

Things haven’t fallen as far as they did for the Tulsa show this spring, when the market completely collapsed and tickets were available for as little as $7 on MEGASeats while the official box office was charging $74 for the same tickets after fees – but things don’t look good.

“Resale price floors harm consumers twice-over,” John Breyault of the National Consumers League told TicketNews during the reporting of that Tulsa show and its price floor reveal. “First, they keep discounted tickets from being available to fans who would otherwise be unable to attend a show. Second, they harm sellers who simply want to recoup at least a portion of their ticket investment when they are unable to attend an event. Fans should not be the ones to pay the price when Live Nation and its clients fail to anticipate lower-than-expected demand for an event.”

It’s difficult to assess at this time whether or not there are serious issues for shows further down the road – they are too far away to have seen resale prices really start racing downward, and while there isn’t a ton of available inventory on the primary market, that could just mean huge blocks haven’t even been put on sale yet, as is the instance for Gillette next week.

The controversy surrounding the ticket pricing strategy for Bruce Springsteen’s tour is difficult to overstate. Fans were furious over the surged prices when shows went on sale.

The fallout was significant enough that New Jersey congressman Bill Pascrell demanded answers over the use of “platinum” ticket pricing for the Springsteen tour dates, and the artist himself addressed the controversy, though he effectively shrugged at the fan reaction.

“You certainly don’t like to be the poster boy for high ticket prices. It’s the last thing you prefer to be,” Springsteen told Rolling Stone. “But that’s how it went. You have to own the decisions you have made and go out and just continue to do your best. And that was my take on it. I think if folks come to the show, they’re going to have a good time.”

Just before the tour launched (and a second North American leg of shows went on sale), Backstreets, a longtime fan publication covering the band, announced it was shutting down. In the announcement, they said the decision was due in large part to the ticket pricing mess and the toll it took on the esteem that Springsteen fans no longer felt for the artist once they realized he was fully comfortable with using whatever means the tour promoter and ticketing vendor would enable to maximize ticket revenues.

“Six months after the onsales, we still faced this three-part predicament: These are concerts that we can hardly afford; that many of our readers cannot afford; and that a good portion of our readership has lost interest in as a result.”

Is that lost interest showing itself in the potentially low demand for the run of performances that are cris-crossing North America over the next five months? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band Tour Dates

August 16 – Philadelphia, PA | Citizens Bank Park – Postponed
August 18 – Philadelphia, PA | Citizens Bank Park – Postponed
August 24 – Foxborough, MA | Gillette Stadium
August 26 – Foxborough, MA | Gillette Stadium
August 28 – Washington, DC | Nationals Park
August 30 – East Rutherford, NJ @ MetLife Stadium
September 1 – East Rutherford, NJ MetLife Stadium
September 3 – East Rutherford, NJ | MetLife Stadium
September 7 – Syracuse, NY | JMA Wireless Dome
September 9 – Baltimore, MD | Oriole Park at Camden Yards
September 12 – Pittsburgh, PA | PPG Paints Arena
September 14 – Pittsburgh, PA | PPG Paints Arena
September 16 – Uncasville, CT | Mohegan Sun Arena (Rescheduled from March 12)
September 19 – Albany, NY | MVP Arena (Rescheduled from March 14)
September 21 – Columbus, OH | Nationwide Arena (Rescheduled from March 9)
September 29 – Washington DC | Nationals Park
November 3 – Vancouver, BC | Rogers Arena
November 6 – Edmonton, AB | Rogers Place
November 8 – Calgary, AB | Scotiabank Saddledome
November 10 – Winnipeg, MB | Canada Life Centre
November 14 – Toronto, ON | Scotiabank Arena
November 16 – Toronto, ON | Scotiabank Arena
November 18 – Ottawa, ON | Canadian Tire Centre
November 20 – Montreal, QC | Centre Bell
November 30 – Phoenix, AZ | Footprint Center
December 2 – San Diego, CA | Pechanga Arena
December 4 – Inglewood, CA | Kia Forum
December 6 – Inglewood, CA | Kia Forum
December 10 – San Francisco, CA | Chase Center
December 12 – San Francisco, CA | Chase Center