Singer Britney Spears sold out her upcoming Sands Bethlehem Event Center this morning in just seconds, a spokesman said — shattering the record for the fastest-ever sellout at the venue.
The show went on sale to the public at 10 a.m., and just seconds later, only a handful of VIP tickets costing more than $400 remained, venue spokesman Paul Shaw said.
That crushed the record set by British rockers The 1975, which sold out its standing-event show in four minutes last year. The record-fast sellout for a seated show — which has a capacity of 2,550 as opposed to 3,750 for a standing show — was for Stevie Nicks in 2016. Nicks sold out her show in 14 minutes.
“It’s always great to see a show sell out,” Shaw said. “Being able to see act of this caliber in a small, more intimate setting is an incredible experience. We’ll continue to work to offer an amazing lineup of entertainment for fans in the Lehigh Valley.”
After a venue pre-sale ended in a blink Friday, people took to the Sands’ Facebook page – and in emails to Lehigh Valley Music – people complained that even when they logged onto the event center’s web page, they were met by a message saying pre-sale tickets were sold out.
“Waiting since at 6 a.m. Signed in at exactly 10 — was in the queue with the code in within 2 seconds and sold out – what!?” Denise Hoffman-Thanhauser wrote on the Sands’ Facebook page.
“No tickets,” wrote Tara Canning. “I don’t believe there ever were.”
There were, indeed, tickets. But the problem was there also were probably fewer than people thought, and far, far more buyers than they expected.
Here are five reasons Britney tickets were amazingly hard to get and sold out so fast:
There weren’t that many tickets.
Even the starting point for tickets at the Sands is small: Sands Bethlehem Event Center holds just 2,550 people for a seated show, which the Spears show will be. Three hundred of those tickets are in sponsor boxes, for which sponsors get first crack.
That means even if half those tickets were available after pre-sales, it was only 1,125 seats.
Take away tickets sold during a previous Britney Spears fan club pre-sale, and you see how small a number you were dealing with.
2.Spears is a huge name.
When the singer has played in the region before, it has been at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, which for most concerts has a capacity of something above 18,000 for most concerts. That’s eight times the capacity of Sands Bethlehem Event Center, and even that venue sells out for Spears.
Spears will be the biggest-selling artist who has ever played Sands Bethlehem Event Center. She is the fourth best-selling female artist since Nielsen SoundScan began, is in the top 15 best-selling solo female artists of all time and Top 40 best-selling artists overall, with sales of 78.7 million albums and claims of more than 100 million worldwide, according to The Recording Industry Association of America.
3. A small venue sells out quickly.
It’s not only Spears. Tickets for other big acts at The Sands have sold out in a blink. Rod Stewart’s 2016 show sold out in just under 30 minutes. Janet Jackson’s 2017 show sold out in 30 minutes.
Even blink 182, which played a standing-only show for 3,750 people, also in 2016, sold out in 20 minutes.
4. Britney’s only playing a dozen shows on this tour, all on the East Coast.
And the closest is New York City and Atlantic City, which means the nearest show for all those people from Philadelphia who fill Wells Fargo Center is the Sands.
Same thing for everyone west. You’re from Pittsburgh? Harrisburg? The closest place to see Britney is Bethlehem.
5.Demand is pent up.
When Spears plays the event center, it will be more than seven years since she last toured the United States on her Femme Fatale tour.
Since 2013, she’s played a residency of her show “Britney: Piece of Me” in Las Vegas. It broke records by selling more than 930,000 tickets and grossing more than $140 million for 250 shows in four year.
It’s been far longer – 19 years — since she played the Lehigh Valley, and only the second time. The last time was a 1999 show at the Allentown Fair after the release of her debut album “… Baby One More Time,” when she co-headlined with boy band 98 Degrees to a sold-out crowd of more than 10,000.
Sands Event Center owner says the response to the announcement of Spears has probably been the biggest ever at the Sands — even bigger than for Janet Jackson.
It’s not only the event center that’s experiencing ticket-buying woes with Spears. Britney’s fans yesterday crashed Live Nation’s website for the UK leg of her tour during pre-sale, according to news reports.