Despite what you’ve heard, demand appears high for Jay Z and Beyonce’s On The Run tour.
Multiple published reports that the upcoming Jay-Z/Beyonce co-headlining stadium tour — set to begin in Miami on June 25 and wrap in San Francisco on Aug. 5 — is struggling, or that ticket sales are “dismal,” are inaccurate, Billboard has learned.
Sources close to the Live Nation-produced tour tell Billboard that, as of June 17, the tour has racked up about $86 million in ticket sales and is on a pace to gross close to $100 million from just 19 shows. The source says attendance is on a pace to top 850,000 tickets sold, and a Live Nation rep confirmed to Billboard that the tour is indeed nearing that threshold. That’s a whopping nightly take of $5.2 million, and an average attendance of nearly 45,000 per show — well more than two sold-out arena shows would generate in any given market. Numerous shows are sold out, and Live Nation cites “unprecedented” VIP and platinum ticket sales.
Live Nation offered this statement to Billboard: “The On The Run Tour opens next Wednesday in Miami’s Sun Life Stadium to over 48,000 fans, then rolls to Cincinnati to a sellout crowd of more than 37,000 fans, and on July 1st more than 50,000 fans will pack Boston’s Gillette Stadium. With sellout nights across North America, these first three shows are indicative of the strong demand. Overall, the tour has sold well over 750,000 tickets, grossing more than $90 million, and has unprecedented VIP and Platinum ticket sales.”
Those type of numbers would make On The Run one of the most successful tours of the year, with quite possibly the highest per-show average in terms of gross and attendance of any tour on the road this year. That is not unexpected; while both Beyonce and Jay-Z toured extensively in 2013, their audiences do not completely overlap, and their profile as music’s “power couple” gives the pairing the type of “event” status coveted in the live music industry.
While a significant number of tickets are currently available on the primary market a week before the tour begins, that is not out of line with market tendencies trending toward fans purchasing closer to the show, and walk-up will likely be strong as promoters promote, anticipation builds, and on-the-fence buyers figure out tickets are available.
Even if On The Run finishes at 90 percent capacity (which seems reasonable at this point), that would be considered a huge success, given the healthy ticket prices and the large number of tickets on the market. Complete stadium tours are rare these days in North America, not only because of the inherent production expenses involved, but also because of the huge demand necessary to pull them off. Most likely, Jay-Z and Beyonce opted to go for stadiums on their first tour together not only because of perceived demand, but also because tapping into that demand at stadiums required less of a time commitment than would multiple shows in arenas or amphitheaters. Not only have both Bey and Jay already been touring hard for more than a year, but for stars of this stature, with diverse interests, causes and businesses, time is their most valuable asset.