Earlier this week, Bruce Springsteen nixed a pair of Philadelphia shows because he’d “taken ill.” Now, some are speculating as to whether poor ticket sales, fueled by “famously aggressive” dynamic pricing practices, are the actual cause of the last-minute cancellations.
Springsteen’s team announced the postponements on social media shortly before showtime at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday. Besides axing the performance that had been set to take place on the 16th, The Boss went ahead and called off a second show that had been slated for this evening.
“Due to Bruce Springsteen having been taken ill,” the relevant tweet reads in part, “his concerts with The E Street Band at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on August 16 and 18 have been postponed.”
While the claimed illness’s details are unclear, photos and videos from prior concerts are still being posted to the 73-year-old’s social accounts, and additional tour dates, beginning with an August 24th stop in Foxborough, Massachusetts, are expected to proceed as planned. (The dropped Philadelphia shows haven’t yet been rescheduled.)
As mentioned at the outset, however, certain observers and outlets believe that the cancellations, like those announced during the same tour’s first leg, raise questions about the long-controversial ticket-sale strategy employed by The Boss and his management.
“Specifically,” asked TicketNews, “did the famously aggressive use of surged ‘dynamic’ ticket pricing and ‘platinum’ prices doom the tour to an endless cycle of postponements for poor-selling shows that is just getting started?”
According to the same outlet’s review of tickets available (via the Paciolan/Tickets.com system in place for Citizens Bank Park events), the Philly dates had earlier this week been flooded with “a large quantity of previously held-back tickets,” ranging in price from $80 to “several hundred dollars” apiece.
Though said system doesn’t include a seat-by-seat map of ticketing inventory, TicketNews also tracked the Ticketmaster map for Springsteen’s Saturday the 26th Foxborough concert. Per a screenshot, some 10,000 passes, despite having not appeared “as recently as last week,” were available to buy at the time of writing.
These newly released tickets, the outlet maintained, had been intentionally held back by organizers to create the illusion of limited availability and, in turn, “deceive those shopping for tickets to” shell out the asking prices. Comparatively few passes were displayed for Thursday the 24th’s gig at the same venue – possibly because of hold-backs designed to spur sales to the Saturday happening.
Finally, passes listed via third-party resale platforms could (once again at the time of writing) be purchased for notably less than the advertised costs of “official” tickets – with price floors and fees continuing to drive up the totals of Ticketmaster offerings. (Live Nation previously committed to all-in pricing in the U.S., but communicated that it would only make the transition beginning in September.)
Moving forward, it’ll be worth closely monitoring the fan demand and ticket sales behind the concerts of Springsteen, especially given astronomical prices’ well-documented ability to turn off even the most loyal of supporters.