Don't expect $10 tickets at the PNC Bank Arts Center shows this summer, says LiveNation VP of Marketing Jim Steen.
Last year, LiveNation proffered 40,000 seats, or ten percent of its inventory, to ticket buyers as a sweet deal in tough economic times, said Steen. On certain Wednesdays, the queue could grow a couple hundred people at the box office, he said.
But this year management did not renew the offer. "There's a reality of doing business in New Jersey, and things cost money," said Steen. "Artists' fees are not going down."
Instead, Live Nation will provide Groupon discount deals to 75 percent of its shows and continue the "Family Four-Pack," the buy three-get-one-free lawn seat deal.
The anticipation of $10 ticket sales proved to have a chilling effect on ticket sales. "In the long term it's just bad for business because it causes people to wait for a deep discount," said Steen.
The announcement on the PNC Bank Arts Center FaceBook page provoked a torrent of outrage and insults last week from fans who said they felt cheated. They complained they had lost their jobs and could not afford the tickets, which range from as low as $20 for lawn seats to $100 for orchestra seats. They flamed management for being greedy and vowed not to come. (The thread was taken down.)
"They think we've broken our sacred covenant that we’d offer $10 tickets," said Steen. "We never promised $10 tickets would last forever."
Steen broke it down. "Eighty-five to 90 percent of your ticket price goes towards artists fees. Another percentage goes towards operations, security, production and parking staff. So the profit margin for the people who run the arta center is three percent.
On a ten dollar ticket, we make .30 cents," he said.