INDUSTRY SCRATCHES HEAD OVER CELINE’S
EARLY ON-SALE
Author: Dave Brooks
Date: November 26,2007

Celine Dion isn’t taking any chances on her upcoming
“Taking Chances” tour, promoted by AEG.The super diva
is selling tickets to her 45-city tour far in advance —in
some cases over a year ahead of the performance date. The move has
caused confusion in box offices over the early on-sale.The tour
hits 45 arenas from August 2008 to January 2009, and prices range
from $55 to $900. So far, Dion has announced that she has sold out
shows in major markets, including four Toronto concerts which sold
out in 32 minutes, according to her website. This is Celine’s
first tour after wrapping up a five-year residence at The Colosseum
at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.“The on-sale of her upcoming
tour is set to coincide with the release of her new album,”
said her husband and manager Rene Angelil. “Over the next
year, we’re going to be actively promoting both the album and
her 45-city tour.”The sale also coincides with her recent
appearance on Oprah and her final 13 shows in Las Vegas. While
major market shows are selling well, smaller market venues said
they haven’t seen brisk on-sales and in some cases worry that
the show is creating too much confusion for ticket buyers.Dave
Olsen of the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C., said the venue’s
Jan. 20, 2009, show went on sale on Monday.“I think we did
okay. I wasn’t overly optimistic because it’s so far
out, but we’re on track to do fine,” he said.Jeffrey
Mann of the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., said there was
more anticipation than confusion about the arena’s Dec. 6
show, which also went on sale on Monday.“There’s so
much excitement around this concert that I don’t think an
early on sale date will really stop ticket sales,” which he
said were doing quite well. “Could this be a trend for other
big ticket tours? Possibly. It definitely creates a larger window
to move tickets when you go on sale a year out.” Olsen said
some fans have called to order tickets, thinking the concert was
scheduled for January 2008. Others said they were nervous about
buying tickets so far in advance because they didn’t know
what their schedule looked like.“We had one woman in her 60's
standing at our box office,” he said. “She joked with
the ticket person that she didn’t know if she was still going
to be alive by the time Celine came to town. I think that’s a
sign that it’s really hard to put your arms around a date
that is so far out.”There’s also concern that Celine
fans will accidentally show up at the wrong concert.“We have
a concert by Barry Manilow scheduled for that same date in 2008 and
I know people are going to show up with Celine tickets,”
Olsen said,“As an industry, none of us have gone with a show
this far out. She’s done well in some markets, but in other
markets, it's just chugging along. It’s not making the splash
they were hoping for in the B-markets,” Oslen continued.
“When people buy tickets for events, there’s an
inherent anticipation about getting excited for the event. To me,
it would be an emotional roller coaster. You spend the money to buy
the tickets, only to have to wait 14 months for the
concert.”Ticketmaster spokesperson Bonnie Poindexter said she
wasn’t aware of any plans to issue refunds to ticket-holders
who were confused about the dates of their tickets. Generally,
refunds are only issued for concert cancellations.Ticket broker
Harris Rosner of VIP tickets said he can’t predict the effect
the early on-sale will have on the resale of tickets. While the
long lead-time generally gives brokers a longer window to sell
tickets, it also means more fluctuations as the concert
approaches.“Having more time just gives you more variables to
deal with,” he said, later adding, “we generally try to
sell tickets as soon as we get them.”Rosner said his Las
Vegas office has sold over 700 tickets to Celine Dion concerts at
Caesar’s Palace.Interviewed for this story: Rene Angelil,
(450) 978-9555; Dave Olsen, (919) 861-6173; Jeffrey Mann, (623)
930-430; Bonnie Poindexter, (310) 360-2321; Harris Rosner, (818)
907-1548