Garth Brooks’ $250 Las Vegas Show: It’s A Wynn-Wynn Situation

Garth Brooks’ $250 Las Vegas Show: It’s A Wynn-Wynn Situation

If you saw Garth Brooks in Vegas and only paid a $125 consider yourself lucky. Not only did you see the best selling solo artist of all-time in the intimate Encore Theater, but you saw him for a song.

Now, those same Garth Brooks tickets will cost you a hundred bucks more. That’s right, Steve Wynn, hotel magnate and Brooks’ boss, has raised the price of seeing Chris Gaines’ alter ego from $125 to $225—it’s one of the largest percentage jumps in the history of Las Vegas.

“My decision to raise the ticket price was a simple one. The demand for Garth was so overwhelming that it caught us by surprise. We could fill a theater many times the size of this, twice a night. The most important thing for our company is to give people value for their entertainment dollar. The contact with Garth Brooks in the Encore Theater is the equivalent of being in his living room. When the greatest live performer of our time appears in such an intimate theater, the seats should be priced at least competitively with other great Las Vegas entertainers. In terms of value, I believe that Garth Brooks is still under-priced and represents the greatest entertainment value in modern Las Vegas.” – Steve Wynn

The “real” price of a Garth Brooks ticket, after you include the service charge and the tax, is actually $253.

Brooks has now ascended into the rarefied air of Sin City’s $200-a-ticket club. Members of that club include Elton John, Cirque du Soleil’s Viva Elvis, Cher, and Celine Dion (from what I hear their club handshake is really something).

Normally, a price jump like this is shrugged off. A greedy musician trying to squeeze more money out of fans is not news—it’s dog bites man.

However, Brooks has always been extremely conscious of what he charges his fans to see him perform. You want to see a Garth Brooks concert? Great, all you need is $25. You want to catch a Garth Brooks tour stop? Fine, just cough up $25.

In fact, the country superstar initially wanted to charge $25 for Garth Brooks Las Vegas tickets but the “Genius Wynn” said no.

Love him or hate him (my affinity resides somewhere between adulation and worship), you have to admit that “The Great Wynn” knows what he’s doing. There was a reason he went after the “retired” Brooks and went after him hard. Wynn knew that getting Brooks to perform at his Encore Theater was a license to print money.

You can blame Wynn all you want but it’s his theater at his Vegas resort and he made a slew of concessions to secure Brooks’ services (i.e. a $15 million jet). So if you ask me, Mr. Wynn can set ticket prices at whatever amount he wants (by the way, the theater is so intimate that every seat in the house is equivalent to a front row seat at an arena or stadium).

Brooks issued a statement after the announcement of the ticket price increase but it was more to soothe over rankled fans than it was to praise Wynn for his supreme business acumen.

“I am flattered Steve Wynn believes in me as an entertainer, and my deal with him is not affected by ticket price. My only concern is the audience. Right now, the Vegas audiences are some of the best I have ever played for and I’d hate to see that change for whatever reason.” – Garth Brooks

While Brooks’ sentiments are nice, I doubt he’s losing sleep over $225 tickets. Brooks has proven time and time again that he’s a standup guy. For instance, he’s performing six concerts in December to raise money for victims of May’s disastrous flooding in Tennessee. He’s good people.

Besides, the overwhelming majority of his fans were already squeezed out of his 5-year Las Vegas stint in the first place. The number of fans that can afford $25 but not $125 is far more than the number of fans that can afford $125 but not $225. Most people who can spend $125 for a two hour concert can also spend $225.

I wonder if Brooks is more upset at the ticket price increase or the fact that Wynn played him like a fiddle (surely this was Wynn’s endgame from the very beginning).

Brooks’ contract with Wynn is not contingent on ticket prices.

GARTH BROOKS LAS VEGAS SCHEDULE
Dec. 3 – Encore Theater @ Wynn, Las Vegas
Dec. 4 – Encore Theater @ Wynn, Las Vegas
Dec. 5 – Encore Theater @ Wynn, Las Vegas
Jan. 21 – Encore Theater @ Wynn, Las Vegas
Jan. 22 – Encore Theater @ Wynn, Las Vegas
Jan. 23 – Encore Theater @ Wynn, Las Vegas
Feb. 11 – Encore Theater @ Wynn, Las Vegas
Feb. 12 – Encore Theater @ Wynn, Las Vegas
Feb. 13 – Encore Theater @ Wynn, Las Vegas
Feb. 25 – Encore Theater @ Wynn, Las Vegas
Feb. 26 – Encore Theater @ Wynn, Las Vegas
Feb. 27 – Encore Theater @ Wynn, Las Vegas

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