With 36 Grammys between them, it’s no surprise that Beyonce and Jay Z drew tens of thousands of concert-goers to Baltimore for their On the Run Tour show this week.
In June, rumors circulated about poor sales for the power couple’s first co-headlined tour. Fans complained about high ticket prices, with some seats going for $500 in certain cities. But two weeks into the 19-stop U.S. leg of the tour, however, On the Run is on pace to be one of the most successful tours this year.
Mr. and Mrs. Carter’s show is not the only stadium- or arena-packing act coming to the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., metro area this summer — and it’s not the most expensive either.
Justin Timberlake returns to Baltimore next week for his 20/20 Experience World Tour, and the average list price of tickets is $263.38, according to TiqIQ. On the Run tickets were $237.70.
The most expensive shows at major Maryland, Virginia and Washington venues are One Direction on Aug. 11 and Kiss and Def Leppard on July 25, according to a TiqIQ list of concerts between May 1 and Aug. 31. The British pop band’s average list price at Nationals Park is $375.39, and Kiss/Def Leppard tickets are going for $375.33 on average at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Va.
The success of concert tours is difficult to track, said Jacqueline Peterson, a spokeswoman for Live Nation. Not every artist, venue, promoter or manager chooses to disclose sales or attendance figures.
But overall, summer concert tickets are less expensive than last summer, said Chris Matcovich, a TiqIQ spokesman.
The music industry had one of its best touring years ever in 2013, based on growth in metrics such as ticket sales and attendance, according to Billboard. One explanation for more conservative ticket prices, Matcovich said, was venue choices.
“Last year was led by One Direction and the Rolling Stones, which were very high priced on the resale market,” Matcovich said. “This year there are some very big acts: Beyonce/Jay Z, One Direction, etc. The difference is many of these big acts are doing stadium tours where they play in venues with a tremendous amount of seats, which has helped to hold prices fairly reasonable for many of these shows.”
Monday’s Beyonce/Jay Z show at M&T Bank Stadium sold 50,000 tickets. Live Nation told Billboard in June that On the Run should bring in about $5.2 million per night, which would make On The Run the second most successful tour ever based on gross revenue per show, behind U2’s 2009-11 “360” tour, according to Forbes.
Jay Z and Justin Timberlake headlined a show at M&T Bank Stadium in August 2013, bringing in $4.7 million in gross sales and a crowd of more than 49,000, Billboard Boxscore numbers showed. Beyonce and Luke James’ 2013 show at Verizon Center saw $3.1 million in gross sales and sold about 27,000 tickets.
Though the summer is shaping up to be a smaller year for the touring industry than last year, big-name acts from a range of genres are coming to area venues.
Rappers Drake and Lil Wayne will perform at Jiffy Lube Live at the end of August. Country music star Jason Aldean joins Florida Georgia Line and Tyler Farr in Washington on July 25, one day before Billy Joel plays at Nationals Park. And Queen, fronted by American Idol winner Adam Lambert, comes to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia July 20.