The Eagles were the first band to charge $100 for a concert ticket 16 years ago. Now the group is raising prices on prime seats, making the cheap ones cheaper and squeezing scalpers.
The band's April 27 show in Sacramento, Calif., uses Live Nation's "dynamic" ticketing service that mimics airlines' approach — a first for a major group. By setting 10 prices based on anticipated demand, instead of the usual two to four, the Eagles are selling seats closer to what they fetch on resale sites such as EBay's StubHub.
"The idea is to shift the economic value from the brokers, who get the difference between the face value and the resale value, to the primary market where it can go to the artists, promoters and venue operators," said Brett Harriss, an analyst with Gabelli & Co. in Rye, N.Y., which owns the shares.
The Eagles test highlights ticketing changes made possible by Live Nation's merger last month with Ticketmaster Entertainment, a deal opposed by consumer groups.
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As the world's largest concert promoter, venue operator, ticket seller and manager of artists, the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based company has more leverage to make changes that drive revenue and profit.
Dynamic pricing has been tried by professional baseball teams including the San Francisco Giants. It uses technology to continually adjust ticket prices for some seats based on demand.
At the 17,000-seat Arco Arena, the Eagles are testing a limited version that set prices in advance. Aisle seats are worth more than those in the middle of a row, for example. In some systems, changes can be made in real time.
The band and show organizers are keeping total ticket revenue comparable to other stops on the tour, which runs from April 16 to May 18, said Robbins. Eagles tickets priced as high as $250 are being used to reduce others to as little as $32, the lowest for the band since 1980.