Move over, Bruce Springsteen. On Saturday, the Backstreet Boys sold out all 53 dates of their 39-city North American tour, with most of the concerts filling up in less than an hour. Even with Backstreet’s No. 1 album ”Millennium” reaching sales of 12 million (and counting), this kind of ticket rush is unprecedented: The tour grossed an estimated $30 million, and that’s with mid-price tickets. Most seats went for $38.50 and $28.50, far cheaper than, say, the $60-range seats for the Bruce Springsteen tour.
The Boys’ tour, which kicks off on Sep. 14 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., was originally scheduled for just 40 shows, but the ticket frenzy caused the addition of 13 more dates in various cities. These last-minute adds are a usual practice, with promoters waiting to judge audience demand, so as not to risk empty arenas. In May, for example, Springsteen announced just 5 shows in New Jersey, but the number blossomed to 15 when tickets moved quickly.
The Backstreet Boys needn’t have worried. Many teenage fans had been camping out for days in the hopes of getting entrée to an up-close-and-personal (or as up close as you can be in an arena) night with Nick, Howie, AJ, et al. Ticketmaster Online reported some of its highest usage, and local promoters were amazed by the speed at which the tickets sold. The Boston Fleet Center sold out two shows in 20 minutes, while Birmingham, Ala.’s BJCC Arena’s concert was filled in 18 minutes. ”I sold more tickets and sold them faster than any show in the history of the building, including Garth Brooks,” said BJCC box office manager Sue Boyd. Maybe Garth should learn to dance.