Britney was once the hottest pop star on the planet. Tickets to her spectacular gigs sold out within minutes. But it seems that Britney Spears could soon be Britney’s Tears – with hundreds of tickets UNSOLD for her big Birmingham show. Fans have been reluctant to shell out to see the 29-year-old pop princess at the city’s LG Arena on October 30.
Such has been the slow response that tickets have been offered for official sale at £30, almost half the £55 top price. Yet even that has failed to pack the 16,000-capacity venue at the NEC, with fears the arena could be half-full. In another attempt to shift tickets, the LG Arena website is offering groups of fans two free tickets if they pay for ten. But it seems certain that Britney’s steamy Femme Fatale show has suffered a fatal lack of attraction. On Friday there were still 500 standing spaces up for grabs, and ticket availability in 11 of the venue’s 17 blocks of seats.
When a Mercury reporter called the box office, she was told: “It’s probably about half-full. There’s good availability.” The Birmingham date at the LG Arena is only one of three UK dates for Britney as she tours her latest show, and is the first time she has returned to the Midlands since 2004, following a much-publicised meltdown in which she shaved off all her hair. As such it was expected that the gig would be a sell-out. When the date was announced, Britney beamed: “I can’t wait to come back and perform for my fans there, it’s been too long.”
The Femme Fatale spectacular has won rave reviews. Rolling Stone magazine described it as “Britney’s flashiest, fastest moving, and most entertaining production yet. At 29, the pop star whose career seemed in danger of ending just a couple years ago has shown that she’s back – hopefully this time to stay.” But an earlier show in the Ukraine suffered from slow sales, too, with fans complaining that ticket prices were too high during the global recession.
The cut-price ticket deal was brokered by tour promoter Live Nation with discount site Groupon, with two tickets for £60 on offer. All 238 tickets were snapped up by fans in search of cut-price concerts. A similar exercise was mounted in Britney’s homeland when US shows needed a boost, and 18,000 cheap tickets went on sale. A Live Nation spokesman said: “Offering a discounted deal on Groupon is not a reflection of the quality or status or sales of a show but rather segmented marketing and a way to reach new and additional consumers.”