Are the Rolling Stones sell-outs? Not yet

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2003, 12:00am

They might be multi-millionaires but no one can accuse the Rolling Stones of selling out - at least not yet in Hong Kong.

With two days to go before their concerts begin at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, there are still plenty of seats left for sale.

Even though the 8,000-seat arena is the smallest on their '40 Licks World Tour', promoters for the concerts on Friday and Saturday were yesterday still offering hundreds of tickets priced at $2,888 and $1,380.

The cheapest $598 seats had all gone.

Industry sources said they believed the price of the tickets had been too high and promoters may have overestimated the appeal of the ageing British band.

'Most of the people going to these kinds of concerts are Westerners who are quite spoiled,' one source said. 'Once all the seats that they perceive as 'good seats' are sold out they will stop buying.

'There won't be a last-minute rush.'

The source said the high prices had also affected ticket sales and limited the number of impulse buyers. Since the venue had relatively limited seating, prices had to be pushed up in order to cover costs.

'In Tokyo they have 47,000 seats in the stadium and can offer good tickets for US$100 (HK$780), while in Hong Kong a good ticket costs US$370,' he said.

Concert promoter Pato Leung Pak-to said he believed the Rolling Stones had overestimated their appeal to Hong Kong. 'Obviously they did not do their market research. Hong Kong people would rather go to see the Bee Gees than the Rolling Stones,' he said.

'There is no rebellious culture of rock like in Japan or the United States. People won't pay thousands of dollars to experience something they cannot relate to.'

However, Gloria Fong, the Convention Centre's communications executive, said that tickets were being sold at a satisfactory rate.

'For a concert that has over 8,000 seats per show, we are doing okay. Last time Elton John sold out faster, but these tickets are more expensive,' she said. 'We expect almost a full house.'

Live Ltd, the Rolling Stones' concert promoter, could not be reached for comment yesterday.