We had a great time this past weekend, going out to a movie, attending a black-tie gala, and seeing the hometown Minnesota Vikings win at their new stadium. It is always fun to get out and be entertained, but I am amazed at out how expensive things have become.
Going through some old ticket stubs recently, I came across a stub from a Madonna concert my wife and I went to in 1985. We didn’t even know each other then, but later discovered from the ticket stubs that we had that we gone to the same concert. As surprising as that was to discover then, I was surprised now to see that the ticket price was just $13.50. The same week of that concert she was on the cover of Time magazine, so you know it was a top-priced ticket.
To give you an idea of how much the price of entertainment has escalated over the last thirty years, that $13.50 adjusted for inflation should only be $30.50 today. Or, how about my friend Russ’ experience going to see Led Zeppelin in 1975 (the original Led Zep line-up) for $7.50. That would translate to just $33.80 today.
Instead, a top concert today frequently costs between $150-$250 a ticket. The most I’ve probably paid for a ticket was when I took my wife to see Taylor Swift or my wife and son to see U2 360 a few years ago. Tickets for those shows were about $250 a piece. Adjusted for inflation, that’s 8.3x the cost of those Madonna tickets more than 30 years ago.
It’s not just concert tickets that have inflated so much – it’s any kind of entertainment. I have stubs from old Major League Baseball games, NFL games, Broadway musicals, and big-name comedians. Across the board, I see that prices have gone up by 4x-10x, depending on the event. None of them have gone down – that’s for sure!
Where will it go from here? I was floored when a friend recently said she was going to New York City with her sister for a quick getaway and they were going to see two Broadway shows: $900 a ticket to see Bette Midler in Hello Dolly and $1000 a seat for Hamilton.
I either need to adjust to these sky-high prices or plan to only see things on television in the future. I think I will probably do a little bit of both – although home entertainment (cable, streaming, PPV, etc) has also inflated a lot.
What the least you ever paid for a top act/game (in what year), or the most you’ve paid for a big ticket recently?
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