Update: Chicks Tour Struggling In Several Markets
Out-of-the-gate ticket sales for the Dixie Chicks' upcoming Accidents & Accusations tour are far below expectations and several dates will likely be cancelled or postoned.Out-of-the-gate ticket sales for the Dixie Chicks' upcoming Accidents & Accusations tour are far below expectations and several dates will likely be cancelled or postoned.
Initial ticket counts for the 20-plus arena shows that went on sale last weekend were averaging 5,000-6,000 per show in major markets and less in secondaries, according to sources contacted by Billboard. Venue capacities on the tour generally top 15,000.
In contrast, the band's new album, "Taking the Long Way," sold 526,000 units in its first week, according to Nielsen Soundscan, the third largest sales week of 2006. The album remains No. 1 on The Billboard 200 this week.
Despite those numbers, early ticket sales are clearly not meeting projections. The plug was pulled on public on-sales for shows in Indianapolis (Aug. 23), Oklahoma City (Sept. 26), Memphis (Sept. 27) and Houston (Sept. 30) because of tepid pre-sales in a national promotion with Target stores.
The Memphis show has been pulled off the route and the status of the shows in Indianapolis, Houston and Oklahoma City remains uncertain. Industry speculation has it that much or all of the tour may be postponed. At the very least, it is likely routing and capacity will be reconfigured.
Early ticket sales for this tour are in marked contrast to the Chicks' last proper outing in 2003 when a national on-sale moved some 867,000 tickets the first weekend, and second shows were added in several markets. The Chicks ended up with the top-grossing country tour of 2003 at $62 million.
But not all shows on this tour are below projections. "We're happy [with our on-sale] and comparatively seem to be ahead of most," says John Page, Global Spectrum COO/GM at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, where the trio is booked for July 25. A second date was added for the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, where the first show sold out in eight minutes. "Canada loves the Chicks," says ACC booking director Patti-Ann Tarlton.
After two shows in London, the North American tour was set to begin July 21 in Detroit. But with ticket sales below expectations, it is possible the route and capacities may be further reconfigured. The Chicks are managed by Simon Renshaw and booked by Rob Light at Creative Artists Agency, both of whom declined to comment.