When I first heard that The Police were re-forming for a worldwide concert tour, I got very excited. They are one of those bands that I had always really liked, but had never got round to seeing in concert. And so before tour dates and locations had been announced, I decided that I would happily travel to see The Police, in case they chose not to stop in Prague.
Early on, Jono sent me a promotional email he had received at work about VIP tickets for the shows at Twickenham in London. Those tickets were going for ₤365 a pop but, I thought, that’s London and they are part of a VIP package. I didn’t imagine that price could be at all indicative of what Prague prices might be.
Before I left for The Amerika at the end of last month, I had heard that The Police would be playing in Prague, but there had not yet been an official announcement (as far as I knew) and tickets had not yet gone on sale. Then last night I was out with Mike and he asked me if I had heard how much tickets were. I had not, so he told me.
The cheapest tickets are 220.
What? 220? That’s amazing!
What?!! No way!
Really?? 220 euros?
Yes. 220 euros. The cheapest seats.
Those greedy bastards.
To put things into perspective… the average monthly salary in Prague is around €720. And Prague salaries are higher than anywhere else in the country. Now, even though my monthly earnings are quite a bit higher than the average, I still would not pay that kind of money for a concert ticket. The price is simply too obscene.
Contrast: Mike and I bought tickets for the Rolling Stones concert last year – which was cancelled, but that is beside the point. Those tickets were priced at 990 Kč each, or, at today’s exchange rate, about €35. And that was the authentic original half-dead Rolling Stones – not a cover band. Who the hell do The Police think they are?!
And today I did my research. The price in euros is nearly standard across Europe. I did not look at every city, but the shows in Hamburg, Amsterdam, Paris, Antwerp and Vienna all have the same pricing as Prague. The tickets are €220/250/290 + €30 delivery.
And that is where I might be able to give The Police the benefit of the doubt and accuse them of ignorance rather than greed. Perhaps they don’t realise that unlike the other countries where they are playing, the economy of the Czech Republic is still recovering from 40 years of hardcore communism. As an example, even now, 17 years after the fall of communism, average monthly salaries next-door in Austria are 4 times higher than they are in the Czech Republic.
But back to greed…
In England, tickets for Manchester and Twickenham are ₤240 and ₤290 or, at Twickenham only, you can stand for ₤220.
In The Amerika, it seems that the price of tickets is more varied and thus spread over a wider socio-economic range. I looked only at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, where tickets go from $70 to $3080, and Madison Square Garden in New York, where the price range is $160 to $5690.
Mike and I agreed that the most likely scenario for The Police concert in Prague is that not enough tickets will be sold and the concert will be cancelled. Hey ho.
*current exchange: ₤1 = €1.48 = $2.01