Behind the scenes of the Confessions Tour strategies
“To plot what could be the top-grossing trek ever by a female artist, Madonna’s Confessions Tour strategists had to navigate a global landscape in a narrow window of time” – writes Ray Waddell in a revealing article on MonsterandCritics.com.
“Initial on-sales for Madonna’s outing saw quick sellouts with shows added in the United States and Europe for markets fortunate enough to snag dates. Following the model of the $125 million Re-Invention tour in 2004 and the $75 million Drowned World tour in 2001, both also produced by TNA, Confessions will play a limited number of performances – up to 60 – rather than visit 100 global markets a la U2`s Vertigo tour.
Put simply, fans often must come to Madonna rather than she to them. And come they will: In the first four days of ticket sales, she sold out four shows in Paris, seven in London, two in Amsterdam and five at New York`s Madison Square Garden, as well as doubles in Los Angeles, Montreal, Miami, Chicago and Fresno, Calif.
There has apparently been no ‘sticker shock’ from fans to ticket prices that top out at $385. “Our rationale was to keep the prices consistent with the last tour,” says Guy Oseary, who co-manages Madonna with Angela Becker. “I’ve never heard a complaint that people didn`t get their money’s worth from a Madonna show.”
TNA`s track record with Madonna was a major factor in the company nailing down the global promotional rights for the tour. ‘There`s no question that our prior history with Arthur Fogel and TNA have inspired us to continue the winning team,’ Becker says.
Fogel and his team began laying out the tour last fall while still deeply entrenched in their role as worldwide producers of U2`s massive Vertigo tour. All TNA decisions are made based on parameters set forth by Madonna.
“The “when” is certainly her call” – Fogel says – “if you look at the last two tours and this one, the time frame is pretty consistent, late May through early September. That`s the time that works for her.”
It turns out the values of the once self-described Material Girl may have changed. “Madonna’s family commitments are a priority” – Becker says – “Her children’s school schedules needed to be factored into the tour plans”.
Once the commitment for the time period is in place, “we [submit] ideas of where we might go and go back and forth any number of times while the process of the routing evolves” – Fogel explains.
With a limited time frame and workload, the idea is first to maximize draw and revenue, and second to hit markets Madonna may have missed on previous tours: “We basically traded a few markets we didn`t play last time, if ever, for markets we did play last time” – Fogel explains.
The best an arena manager can do to secure a date is try to stay in the loop and hope for the best. After previously reeling in tour stops for Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and U2, the new Charlotte Arena was on the TNA radar but could not nail down a Madonna date. “We certainly would love to host her, and we told TNA that, but ultimately in terms of how they route it, that’s TNA’s call,” arena GM Marty Bechtold says.
In Canada, Toronto lost out to Montreal this time around. TNA VP Gerry Barad “was upfront with me from the beginning” – says Patti-Ann Tarlton, director of event programming at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre – “we did hold dates for a minute, but Madonna goes where Madonna wants to go, and I have to respect that.w
Conversely, the SMG-managed Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall, with a capacity of 12,800, was able to capture a first-ever Madonna date. “We took a shot at it, we made the numbers work and it paid off for us” – says Greg Tessone, the venue’s assistant GM – “Being the smallest venue on the tour, I’m thrilled to have it.”
In Europe, Madonna will play several stadiums, following a trend of playing arenas in North America and stadiums in Europe. This time, Madonna opts for U.K. venue Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, and eschews the Manchester Evening News Arena. Japan‘s dates in Osaka and Tokyo will follow Europe in mid-September.
Madonna says, “This summer, I’m going to make the world my own private disco”.
Angela Becker adds that the tour has a mission statement: “The soul objective of the Confessions tour is to get the audience up on their feet from the start of the show until the end of the last song. No resting allowed!“.
Read the full story on Monter And Critics.