Back in June, country music icon George Strait drew a crowd of over 100,000 people for the final concert of his farewell tour in Arlington, Texas. It's no surprise, then, that a big chunk of those tickets were picked up on StubHub, the online ticket seller, which now says Strait's show at AT&T Stadium helped make him its No. 2 artist of the year.
StubHub's top-selling act of 2014? That would be those dream-boats in One Direction, followed by Strait and another country star Luke Bryan. StubHub rep Glen Lehrman said more tickets were sold for Strait's last show than the next two largest events in 2014 (concerts by Bryan and Justin Timberlake).
"I don't think we realize how huge country music is," Lehrman admitted to Adweek. "Traditionally, we think of pop music as the one that is going to drive the most interest in ticket sales -- your Beyonce, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga. George Strait didn't do that many dates, but his last concert ever was by far one of the biggest events we had in 2014."
Strait's final hurrah took place at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, on June 7, with guest performances from Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Miranda Lambert and others. With attendance hovering at around 105,000, it broke the North American record for largest crowd for an indoor concert.
Lehrman said overall music sales were stagnant this year, but that 2015 should see a lift with help from big tours by U2, Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks and other heavyweights. "In 2014, we didn't see the caliber and amount of big concerts," Lehrman said. "That's going to change in 2015."
StubHub's List of Top 10 Live Acts of 2014:
1. One Direction
2. George Strait
3. Luke Bryan
4. Justin Timberlake
5. Beyonce & Jay-Z
6. Billy Joel
7. Fleetwood Mac
8. Bruno Mars
9. Katy Perry
10. Paul McCartney
Based on overall sales for their tours in 2014