Thursday, November 11, 2010

One More Wynn Thing: Garth. $253. Really?

It's entirely possible Steve Wynn could kill the goose that lays his only genuine entertainment golden egg since, well, since he hired Danny Gans at the Mirage.

I don't know how I forgot this item in the earlier post of Wynnderfulness, but as you probably saw on my Twitter or Norm's column or David McKee's blog or in skywriting over Talladega, Wynn is jacking up the Garth Brooks tickets by $110 to $253, including taxes and pencil-sharpening fees and whatever else.

That's well and good, given the manic demand. And it is a wonderful show. In fact, as the ads in every Wynncore room quotes me from my Las Vegas Weekly column as having said, it's the best thing I've seen on Las Vegas stage, ever.

But Brooks had made such a big deal out of being affordable for his fans, and there is no way he can stake that claim anymore. Not to mention, on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere, he's taking a shellacking for this. The idea that $500 for a couple for a show is affordable to anyone but the wealthiest or most dedicated among us in this economy is pretty ridiculous.

And here's the thing: It didn't need to be this way. For some reason, Wynn and Brooks seem insistent on sticking with the one-price-fits-all scheme. When the tickets were (arguably) undervalued at $143, that made a little bit of sense. But now, if I'm paying $253, I want to be down in front, not in the last row of the balcony. Why don't they do what every theater has done forever and have more affordable seats farther away? In fact, make the gulf bigger -- make it $300 for the first 10 rows, then lower and lower as the mom jeans and baseball cap on stage gets more and more distant from the viewer.

Differential ticket pricing is how everyone gets to see the show, Mr. Gaines. Wynn's already got the super-duper anti-ticket-scalping practice in place, right? Or do they? I mean, if I'm paying $253 a seat, are they really going to get all badass on me about buying it for my grandma or reselling it if I get sick or whatever else?

If I remember correctly, Wynn said that Garth could get out of his contract whenever he wants to. If this extravagant price sours Brooks fans as much as it seems in the blogosphere so far, he may decide that the Garth Brooks brand is being damaged and pull out. I wonder who keeps the plane.


mike_ch said...

Was the plane thing ever confirmed? From what I had gathered, Wynn more or less rededicated a corporate jet the company already had to giving Garth rides. Steve Wynn is Vegas's illusion master, prone to both speaking without thinking it through and speaking in ways that were thought through to leave a different impression than what really happened.

If he bought an airplane to sell $150-$250 tickets for an infrequent limited engagement act that can leve whenever it wants to, I'd think his other shareholders would choke on their drinks.


mike - wynn talked about it in depth in one of my interviews with him in the past year. I can't locate right now which one, but yes, it was confirmed and Wynn said it was Garth's plane to keep and use as he wishes.

Brian Fey said...

Yeah he did get a plane. Steve even said what model it was in one interview.