A Day in the Life: Information on Ticket Prices from Erie Events’ Marketing Coordinator

From the desk of Dawn Betza, Marketing Coordinator: Ever wonder how concert ticket prices are set? There’s no single answer – instead, it’s a balancing act that involves making sure the touring artist and the show promoters both make money while keeping prices reasonable for fans. It’s a very thoughtful process based on supply and demand. Many patrons believe the venue determines pricing; however, the venue has very little say in the matter, if any.

Essentially, a band sets a figure it is guaranteed to be paid for a concert. The promoter and the band’s management work together to determine a ticket price that makes the most sense for both parties. The goal is to fill every seat with a paying customer. The promoter takes the greatest risk because of the band guarantee – whether 100 or 1,000 tickets are sold, the promoter still has to pay the band the agreed-upon fee. The margins are very thin, even on a profitable show.

Scaling The House

The most important and biggest challenge for a promoter is to properly scale the house or set the right price for different seats. Should tickets be general admission, reserved, or a combination? The difference in charging 2-3 extra dollars per ticket can be the difference in whether the promoter makes a profit or not. Typically two or three prices levels are determined, but capturing the value of every seat is a difficult task. For example, being in the center of Row A is more valuable than in a seat at the end of the same row. But in most cases, these seats have the same ticket price. Determining where price levels change is a key component for making a profit.

Other Factors

Ticket prices are also determined by the estimated expense for both the artists and promoters. Promoters face the bulk of the expenses and these include such things as backstage crew, security, sound and lighting, catering, venue rental, advertising and box office fees. Travel cost is the biggest expense incurred for a band, so this must be considered as well. Other factors include the day of the week – a concert on Friday night will perform better than one on a Tuesday night, and also competing events in the market such as sporting events, etc.

We ask for your support in our efforts to continue to bring quality acts to Erie — Get Up and Go!


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