Remember when members of Luke Bryan’s camp started crying when George Strait won the Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year in 2014? They said it was just a parting gift at the farewell of his career, and that he wasn’t an “Entertainer.” But once again we get validation that George Strait’s Entertainer win at both the CMA’s in 2013, and the ACM’s in 2014, were well deserved.
Ticket broker StubHub has released their numbers for the top-selling music tickets in 2014, and coming in at #2 is “The King” George Strait, edging out Luke Bryan at #3—the current mainstream country cash cow. Even more validating is that Strait’s final concert at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX was not only the biggest live music event in all of 2014, it actually beat the #2 and #3 biggest events—concerts by Luke Bryan and Justin Timberlake—combined. Strait’s final concert shattered attendance records for an indoor event with 104,793 attendees, roughly 5,000 over the stadium’s listed capacity of 100,000, and breaking the previous record for an indoor concert of 87,500 held by a Rolling Stones show at the Superdome in New Orleans in 1981.
British boy band One Direction came in with the #1 spot for 2014 touring by StubHub’s tabulations.
Of course these numbers were bolstered for Strait because it was during his farewell tour, but it still speaks to the continued buying power of classic country fans. It also speaks to how big country music is becoming in the concert realm that the #2 and #3 spots would be filled by country performers.
“I don’t think we realize how huge country music is,” StubHub’s Glen Lehrman told AdWeek. “Traditionally, we think of pop music as the one that is going to drive the most interest in ticket sales your Beyonce, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga.”
Overall touring revenues in 2014 were relatively stagnant according to StubHub, but big tours planned or continuing into next year, including Garth Brooks’ comeback tour could mean an uptick in 2015, and country music once again taking some of the top spots.