State of the Las Vegas Headliner

I stumbled across this analysis of Las Vegas headliners in the wake of Celine and Elton. It includes some interesting information about the capacity required for showrooms to break even and discusses declining ticket prices.

With Las Vegas visitors less willing or able to throw around wads of cash for umm… “veteran” acts, entertainment strategies may very well change over the next couple years. If the Hard Rock fails to fill The Joint for Santana’s residency and Caesars’ deals with Bette Midler and Cher don’t live up to expectations, we could see a shift away from these long-term showroom stints.

How will The Strip adapt? Wynncore’s four-show booking of Beyonce could be the beginning of a new trend—current touring arena acts playing a short stretch of shows in a small, intimate setting. Time will tell.


12 thoughts on “State of the Las Vegas Headliner

  1. This is a prime example of the effects, not of the economy, but of the corporate bean counters. Shows used to be thought of as ‘loss leaders’ where the goal wasn’t to make money at the gate, but simply to get people into town and onto their property. Heck, do you actually think that any of the casino’s made money with the Rat Pack performing? No, the money is made on the drop at the tables and in the slots. The problem is, the bean counter will never figure this out.

    There are countless stories of Whales coming into town for a show or a fight and single handedly covering whatever the casino lost on the show.

  2. You have to remember that these long-term engagements by major names is a relatively recent phenomenon. This “new trend” of four-night bookings is the way Vegas did it for decades .. You think Frank (there’s only one Frank) would have agreed to 210 days a year in Vegas? He would have told you to shove that theater up your bippie.

    It’s funny .. it seems Vegas always goes back to its roots .. the ill-thought-out “Family Destination” attempt died after a brief run .. even the “ultra-lounge” concept seems to be on the wane (with a few exceptions) .. Vegas knows what it is .. and will keep forcing the casinos “back home”


  3. “if the Hard Rock fails to fill The Joint for Santana’s residency”

    I think this quotation proves you HATE Santana. You really want them to fail and be replaced by Cheap Trick, Right?! :))

  4. While everyone here seems to have valid points, I was just kind of thinking….

    I’m 35 years old, and do Vegas once a year. Other than a passing interest in Elton John, I’ve had absolutly no desire to see any of the headlining shows mentioned. To be completely honest, while I like them fine, I can’t see $200 for even Cheap Trick. 🙂

    I’ve seen Springsteen, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Aerosmith here at home, (to name a few), and the MOST I’ve ever spent for Tix was 150 for The Eagles.

    Do any of you think that maybe Vegas is aiming for the wrong demographic entirely? Blue hairs playin penny slots and going to see Bette, or a younger crowd that would indeed shell out some serious cash for a more “main stream” band? Would any of todays more “popular” touring artists even consider makin Vegas a permanent stage home tho? I understand that 5 or 6 year old groups with limited playlists wouldn’t work. Maybe a Metallica type band??

    Done rambling. 17 days!!

  5. I’ve almost called in about this before, particularly in reference to stage shows. The reason stuff like Broadway fails in Vegas, in my opinion, is because they act like things will be there forever. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “We have booked a play/musical act for two months. Get your tickets.”

    I think the strategy is good now because the future of room rates is very precarious with the new inventory and the economy. People can keep putting off a trip because they don’t fear things changing drastically. But if their favorite band/singer/show is only there for a specific time period, hey have the impetus to plan that trip.

  6. Regards the high ticket price compared to outside Vegas. We always take traveling costs into account when deciding whether to purchase a tickets.

    Yes $150 is high cost for a ticket. However we are in Vegas already so would be no additional ‘on’ costs. But breaking that down if we saw the act here, we would probably pay $50 for the ticket, $50 travel expenses each and then probably eat out as well. On top of which we would have the inconvenience of 2 hours drive/train journey home at the end of the concert unless we stump up, say, $50 each as well for overnight hotel.

    So in the long run, us spending $150 on a ticket in Vegas ( assuming we are there ) is actually cheaper and more convenient than spending $50 on a ticket here!

    Another added benefit in Vegas, I feel, is that you get to see the performers more close up than if you went to an arena concert.

    And heck you also get the Vegas ‘vibe’.

    ( ps Tim, just picked up very cheap copy of Guitar Hero, LEGENDS of Rock. Good Santana track on there eh. )

  7. Thats my little rant over…. and relax.

    Speaking of headliners, if Jackson can prove himself in his upcoming 50 gig residency in London , what is the betting that a Vegas residency will not be far of?

  8. Tim-

    Awaiting comment on the day’s news, and also subsequent “Twitter Follower Drop Off” numbers.


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