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Staples Center named king of the concert venues: Ranked top grossing arena in US

By Hayley Fox
Published: Friday, January 06, 2012, at 05:22PM
Flickr/David Jones

The Staples Center beat out Madison Square Garden for tickets sold in 2011.

Jay-Z, Bob Seger and circus clowns all have something in common; their 2011 Los Angeles performances helped make the Staples Center last year's top grossing venue in North America.

"In the 12 years [that Staples Center was open] it was the biggest concert year in the history of the building," said Lee Zeidman, general manager of Staples Center, Nokia Theatre and L.A. Live.

Pollstar Magazine, a concert industry publication, recently released their worldwide Top 200 grossing venues based on ticket sales from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2011.

Number one was the AEG-owned o2 Arena in London. AEG also owns the Staples Center and manages or owns 26 of the other top 200 on Pollstar's list.

In the worldwide ranking, Staples placed at number seven with 633,374 tickets sold, said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar. In the U.S., Staples ranked number one, ahead of Madison Square Garden with 616,874 tickets sold.

Although 2010 was a disappointing year for ticket sales, 2011 showed significant improvement across the board, said Bongiovanni.

Staples Center hosted 36 concerts (30 registered as "sold out") with many acts playing multiple nights, said Zeidman. The general manager lauded the accomplishment, given the competition among L.A.'s live music venues that include the Hollywood Bowl, the Forum, and many more.

Rihanna, Katy Perry, Bob Seger and Tony Bennett all made appearances at the Downtown spot. The New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys had a boy band blowout there and Jay-Z and Kanye West made a "Watch the Throne" tour stop for a few nights in December.

Pollstar only considers ticket sales for concerts and family shows, meaning the revived basketball season of the Lakers and the Clippers and the star-studded All-Star weekend had no influence on the arena's ranking.

"If we were allowed to count all that stuff we'd be a lot higher than seventh in the world," said Zeidman.

While the NBA lockout may not have been good for Downtown's economy, it did bode well for Staples' ranking in the Pollstar list: Katy Perry was able to add an extra night on her tour and Jay-Z and Kanye added two.


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