$3,000 for a pair of George Strait tickets? Welcome to the world of stadium concert pricing

George Strait

As far as stadium concerts go in the Twin Cities, it’s looking like 2020 is going to be a record breaker.

Target Field has Guns N’ Roses in July and the triple bill of Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer in August. U.S. Bank Stadium, meanwhile, will match its 2018 record year with five concerts, starting with Kenny Chesney in what will be his sixth local stadium show.

But major concerts also tend to come at a price – a ticket price, that is. And more than ever, this year’s concert calendar suffers from some serious sticker shock.

How bad is it? Well, here’s a look at the price of two tickets for a handful of upcoming stadium concerts. These prices were valid at the time I wrote this, but keep in mind the increasingly popular (among venues and promoters, not fans) use of “dynamic pricing” means ticket prices are subject to change. Also, fans can avoid the often jaw-dropping fees that come with buying tickets online if they purchase them in person at the venue.

Kenny Chesney (May 2; U.S. Bank Stadium) has a habit of touring with high-profile opening acts and this lineup is his strongest to date. In the time since Old Dominion opened for Chesney’s USBS show in 2018, they’ve gone on to sell out the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand and headline the Winstock Country Music Festival. Florida Georgia Line headlined Target Field back in 2017. And Michael Franti and Spearhead are known locally for multiple stops at the Cabooze Outdoor Plaza and Basilica Block Party.

The priciest Chesney tickets are $475 for up-close floor seats. Two of them with fees and taxes ($165.39) ring in at $1,115.39. The lowest price to get a (not great) floor seat is $497.29 ($215 each, $67.29 in fees) while it’s $215.05 ($85 each, $45.05 in fees) for nosebleeds.

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The Rolling Stones (May 16; U.S. Bank Stadium) pioneered the concept of big, bombastic tours with equally inflated prices. For this outing, the band has two general admission pits for fans who don’t mind standing if it means they’re closer to Mick and the guys. Two VIP pit tickets run $1,751.01 ($749 each, $253.01 in fees). Want to sit in the first row of seats behind the pit? It’s a mere $3,084.49 ($1,323.81 each, $436.87 in fees). It’ll set you back $269.29 ($110.23 each, $48.83 in fees) to get 300 level seats.

The newly un-retired Motley Crue (June 27; U.S. Bank Stadium) will hit the road with fellow ’80s hairspray vets Def Leppard and Poison. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts are on the bill, too. They’re offering all sorts of VIP packages, the most expensive of which is $4,653.03 ($2,000 each, $653.03 in fees) and includes third-row floor seats. Best price for non-VIP floor seats is $846.33 ($359 each, $128.33 in fees). You can save some dough if you take two nearby 100 level seats for $548.65 ($219.50 each, $109.65 in fees). At this point, it looks like there’s only single seats in the nosebleeds, so if you’re flying solo it’s $167.31 ($119.50, $47.81 in fees).

In 2013, George Strait (Aug. 22; U.S. Bank Stadium) embarked on a two-year farewell tour, which included a stop that February at Xcel Energy Center. But Strait made it clear he wasn’t retiring. He has continued to release new music and perform occasional concerts, mostly in Las Vegas and his home state of Texas. So his USBS show is a pretty big deal and is likely to attract a fair amount of out-of-towners. And they’ll be paying for the privilege. The top price for two floor seats comes to $3,003.11 ($1,288.74 each, $425.63 in fees). The cheapest floor tickets ring in at $884.23 ($395.50 each, $93.23 in fees) with a pair of 100 level seats priced at $668.35 ($295.50 each, $77.35 in fees). That’s currently the best price for Strait.

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In comparison, Guns N’ Roses (July 24; Target Field) is a bargain. Yes, the semi-reunited band has some spendy VIP tickets as high as $2,161.98 ($900 each, $361.98 in fees) and the general-admission pit in front of the stage is $609.40 ($250 each, $109.40 in fees). But the cheap seats in this case are actually cheap (relatively speaking) at $147.90 ($49.50 each, $48.90 in fees).

Of course, all of these prices are meaningless if no one is willing to pay up. Just ask Kiss, who are headlining Xcel Energy Center on Monday, on the second local stop on their (latest) farewell tour. If you want great floor seats, Kiss will charge you up to $2,125.14 ($997 each, $131.14 in fees). But last week, Groupon had great 100 level seats available for $35 a pop (with no Ticketmaster fees) and Minnesota Wild fans who attended a game were offered $25 Kiss seats. Despite the bargain basement prices, I have a feeling Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons will be able to live comfortably in their upcoming alleged retirements.

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Bless Your Heart!