The Price Of Entertainment Keeps Rocking Higher

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?

Image Credit: Pixabay

8 thoughts on “The Price Of Entertainment Keeps Rocking Higher

  1. Well, Chief, when I got to Woodstock in 1969, the fences were down, the cost was free, the music was phenomenal, the audience was legend-in-the-making, and the experience defined a generation. Rock on!

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  2. I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $150 — that was to see Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers at the Beacon Theater a couple years ago. Worth every penny! R.I.P., Tom. Next January, I’m going to see my favorite musician from Canada, Alan Doyle. I think it will cost me about $60. He’s not well known in the US, but his fans (including me) are loyal followers indeed. My adult children wanted me to take them to Hamilton on Broadway for $1000 a seat. But Pop wouldn’t pop for that stratospheric extravagance. Eventually, when Hamilton prices come down to normal Broadway expenses, I’ll see if they still care to see that show.

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    1. Hamilton was in Chicago and people were paying $500+. It’s coming to Minneapolis now and you have to buy a season pass (6 shows) to get Hamilton. I think I’ll wait a few years to go.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the mainstream explanation of ticket inflation, at least for musical acts, is that album sales are things of the past, and concert sales are how they make money now. As for the others: Hamilton is clearly supply and demand; I will also late, but it’s great to see a live stage show drive such excitement, in the days of binge watching. What I really choke on is sports. With a great experience available at home, it is difficult to justify ticket prices these days; I have quickly balked at several opportunities recently. Of course, I remember back when the Toronto Skydome (now Rogers Centre) was built, at the cost of $500M in 1989. (actually, $570M Canadian, or $978M in US dollars) I specifically remember the commentary that, in order to break even, they would have to have more than one event per day. Of course, US Bank Stadium, projected to cost $975M but eventually estimated at $1.129 Billion, is now a typical example. The way it works is not more volume, but more revenue sources like ticket price, concessions, public contributions, etc.

    My brother, a longtime Vikings season ticket holder, also balked this time. It started with the $2,000 seat reservation, for the right to purchase season tickets. (yes, a ticket to buy tickets) On the other hand, to sell those before the stadium was built, they had a VR room so you could see the view from various options. But, that was really window dressing to get you to pay up, before you were to pay up again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We went to a Vikings game last season and paid more than double face value – because the stadium was new. We went last month and paid about 15% more than face value. What a difference a year makes. They are much more competitive this year, too!


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