Each year Pollstar magazine lists the 200 top-grossing concert headliners. No San Diego–based artists showed up on the 2008 list, but three local bands with multimillion-dollar tours appear on the 2009 list. The reformed blink-182 took in $26.7 million from their 52-city tour, coming in at number 32 on the list. (U2 was on top with $123 million.) Jason Mraz had a $9.4 million box-office take, placing him at number 76, while the Slightly Stoopid/Snoop Dogg tour’s $3.7 million gross put them at number 162 on the list. American Idol star Chris Daughtry’s band (which includes guitarist Josh Steeley of Carlsbad) grossed $6.8 million (107th place). The average ticket price for the blink and Mraz tours was $34. Tickets were more for Daughtry ($37) but slightly less for Slightly Stoopid ($27).
Other Pollstar year-end lists indicate that Cricket (formerly Coors) Amphitheatre had a good year, selling 276,000 tickets, up from 210,000 the year before. Coors was the 20th most popular outdoor amphitheatre in the country, up from 27th in 2008.
“Surprisingly, 2009 was a record-setting year for concert venues,” says Pollstar publisher Gary Bongiovanni. “More tickets were sold last year than in any year in the past decade.” He says the increase in box-office business is due to the fact that promoters reacted to the bad economy and charged $5 less per ticket, on average.
Belly Up, Soma, and 4th&B did not show up on the 2009 list of the top 100 U.S. club venues.
In previous years, the local House of Blues showcase sold fewer tickets than most of the other HoB venues across the country. But in 2009, HoB San Diego rebounded and sold 86,500 tickets, placing it at 38th place (up from 49th in 2008) and higher on the list than HoB clubs in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, and Atlantic City. House of Blues venues in Anaheim, L.A., and five other U.S. cities were higher on the list than HoB San Diego.
The Sports Arena, which hosted AC/DC, Mudvayne, and Miley Cyrus concerts last year, had a much-improved year in 2009, according to Pollstar’s list of U.S. arenas, moving 271,000 paying customers through its turnstiles (47th in the country), compared to 117,000 (98th place) in 2008. Its comparable venue, SDSU’s Viejas Arena, did not make the list.