Advance Johnny Reid Ticket Sales Setting Box Office Records

Veteran concert promoter Ron Sakamoto is calling it the biggest concert tour of Canada ever.

Johnny Reid's 2016 What Love Is All About Tour certainly promises to be the longest and most inclusive concert run by a Canadian artist in memory, and the advance metrics are astonishing.

Announced a month ago, the crossover Country superstar's national tour doesn't get underway until February 1st, but it has already sold 100,000 advance tickets — its dates have grown from an initial announcement of 37 to 47, with multiple arena appearances now confirmed in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Kitchener.

Ballpark estimates originally suggested the tour stood to gross $16 million in box-office receipts, but the final tally could come in as high as $20 million with merchandise sales.

"I've not seen anything like this before," Sakamoto says by phone from his holiday home in Arizona. "Who's done 47 shows in Canada before? It's more than a hit tour. It's incredible."

Incredible it may be, but this is an arena and theatre tour that has been stitched together with military precision. Sakamoto tells me the planning started 18 months ago when Reid's Johnny Mac Entertainment organization sat down with Sakamoto and Feldman Agency president Vinny Cinquemani to map out a strategy that would result in his largest and longest coast-to-coast tour ever. Sakamoto says it was a challenge to ballpark arena shows a year-and-a-half in front, guestimating the potential to sell tickets in hot markets where Reid and his incredibly organized and effective Tartan Army fan club have past history in quickly selling out venues.

Sakamoto explains this meant spacing tour stops so that in cities such as Regina, Calgary and Edmonton th­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ey had wiggle room to add second and third shows. It also meant spacing the initial schedule so secondary market dates could be added as venue availabilities and local demand was researched, resulting in additions this week in cities such as Estavan, BC and Cold Lake, AB this week.

Vinny Cinquemani at Feldman Agency is similarly stunned by the complexity and resounding success of advance on-sales. "This is by far the biggest on-sale in Johnny Reid's career. The tickets went on sale the same day his album (What Love Is All About) was released (on Nov. 13th). Johnny has had multiple dates on tour in arenas in the past—but this is by far his biggest tour yet. His three shows (at Club Regent Event Centre) in Winnipeg sold out in 10 minutes. Two shows at Conexus in Regina also sold out in approximately 10 minutes and we've added a third show....We are adding more shows and more multiple dates," he explains.

And it's not just a phenomenon in the western half of the country. "The other thing is the Maritimes is gigantic," Cinquemani continues. "When I say 'gigantic' we've sold tickets day-of like I haven't seen before. I can tell you that Halifax sold so well that the configuration we had set up (at Scotiabank Centre) we just opened it up all the way to 7,500 capacity. Markets like Newfoundland, Sydney, London practically sold out on day-of (sales). It's fantastic. It's by far the best on-sales we've ever had."

Sakamoto, meantime, is over the moon with the advance sales for the tour. He's been a part of Reid's live success since the early days. He's also been in the cat bird seat as a concert promoter in Canada since a patchwork quilt of competing concert promoters were stitched together into a national network by Toronto concert promoter Michael Cohl, Montreal's Donald K. Donald, and a variety of promoters in the west that included Sakamoto and Norman Perry's Perryscope Productions in Vancouver. This loose affiliation of similarly minded concert promoters were responsible for helping build the careers of acts like the Stampeders and April Wine by creating a national concert network, which also helped to create opportunities for large-scale national tours for acts such as Nazareth, the Bee Gees, Kiss, and Supertramp. Before, concert acts were booked for one-off shows by regional promoters. The point here being when Sakamoto says he's seen nothing like the number of shows Reid's 2016 concert tour encompasses, he is talking from a deep well of experience.

The war room strategy that took place 18 months ago was set up to maximize exposure of Reid's latest album that in three weeks has reportedly achieved Gold status. It is a starting point for the singer born in Lanark, Scotland who has made Canada his home and gone on to sell over a million albums since he launched his career with the single "You Still Own Me" in 2005. It was covered by Emerson Drive two years later and released as the third US single from the band's Countrified album and peaked at 22 after 26 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It was the start of winning recognition and Reid hasn't looked back. He controls and owns his own recording masters, music publishing  and now has taken control of his management through Johnny Mac Entertainment.

The (changing) tour itinerary can be viewed online at johnnyreid.com

 

 

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