Hamilton, Elton John and Astros-Nationals Headline StubHub Year in Sales

BaseballBasketballBroadwayFootballGolfHockeyIndustryMLBMusicNBANBA PlayoffsNCAANFLNHLSportsStanley CupSuper BowlTennisTheaterTop EventsTours

December 11, 2019
TicketNews Staff 1

World Series, Hamilton and Elton John Lead Lists That Highlight Top-Selling U.S. Events Across Sports, Music and Theatre

SAN FRANCISCO – December 10, 2019 – StubHub, the world’s most trusted ticket marketplace, today released its fifth annual Year in Live Experiences report, highlighting the best-selling events of the year.


#1 Live US Event/Series In 2019: World Series (Nationals vs. Astros)
#1 Live US Touring Artist: Elton John
#1 Broadway Show: Hamilton

“Every year brings a remarkable number of new historical moments and memories for live event fans,” said Jill Krimmel, general manager of sports for StubHub. “2019 had its standout moments in the World Series, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup, featuring unexpected and storied teams driving some of the highest demand of the year.”

According to the analysis by StubHub of full series and event sales, total sales from the seven-game World Series were just ahead of Super Bowl LIII’s sales for a single-day event. The total sales across the 2019 NBA Finals, US Open of tennis and the seven-game Stanley Cup rounds out the top five. The combination of both weekends of Coachella makes the music festival the only music event on the top 10 live events list at #6.


When it comes to sales for single-day events in 2019, Super Bowl takes the lead, all seven of the World Series games would individually make the top 10, and Coachella weekend one would be the only non-sports event to make the list. The LSU Tigers drew significant demand for key rivalries, as did the Green Bay Packers, who would be in both positions #11 and #12 with games against the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears, respectively. A notable record-breaker is game five of the NBA Finals, which became the highest-selling NBA game of all time on StubHub.

A StubHub analysis of the top U.S. touring artists in 2019 shows legacy male solo artists and rock groups dominating the list, with Elton John’s long-running farewell tour at the top spot and Rolling Stones just behind him – the two acts significantly out-sell the rest on the list. Ariana Grande and Luke Combs are the most contemporary act on the list, and Grande is the only female act.

“The touring landscape in 2019 was dominated by Elton John and The Rolling Stones,” said Jeff Poirier, general manager of music and theatre for StubHub. “The legends they are, fans flocked to see them throughout the entire year as they did with so many legacy rock acts. It’s unusual that so few pop and contemporary acts hit the list this year. Ariana Grande and Luke Combs are the most contemporary acts represented in the top ten, but we do see a stronger presence if we expand our analysis to the top 15 acts where BTS, Florida Georgia Line and Lady Gaga show high demand.”


Two superstar groups, The Rolling Stones and BTS, commanded the most sales, on average, per show in 2019, with BTS coming in just shy of the top list at #11. Fleetwood Mac, Florida Georgia Line, Tool and Lady Gaga round out the top 15. While they did not make the annual list, Billie Eilish and Lizzo were two undoubtedly breakout acts who trended on StubHub’s top in-demand lists regularly throughout the year.

Hamilton continues to drive the most demand across Broadway theatre, but To Kill a Mockingbird also holds its strong position from previous years. Newcomers Hadestown, Ain’t Too Proud and Moulin Rouge! The Musical are driving significant demand next to some perennial favorites like Dear Evan Hansen, The Book of Mormon and Lion King.


Comedian Dave Chapelle’s standup show deserves a notable mention, as the tour’s strong sales would place it in the top 15 theatre events, which is particularly remarkable since his tour boasted only 10 shows compared to Broadway runs with 300+ shows in the year. Chapelle commands the most per-show sales by far compared to Broadway shows.

“Overall, the demand for Broadway theatre is continuing to grow at a steady pace,” said Poirier. “Hamilton sparked a resurgence for theatre a few years ago and we’re still seeing a growing appreciation for the art of live theatre continue with shows like Hadestown, Ain’t Too Proud and Network. Comedy shows also saw growth over the year.”

As the decade closes, trends in theatre and comedy growth are likely to continue upward. When it comes to sports, any underdog team’s miraculous run or a compelling upset can shake up the sales rankings. Only time will tell who will be the next breakthrough artists to join legacy acts on top in-demand lists.

Hamilton, Elton John and Astros-Nationals Headline StubHub Year in Sales