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George Strait, Luke Bryan Among Top Touring Acts of 2014

George Strait Luke Bryan
Ethan Miller / Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Country music has never been hotter in terms of mainstream visibility, and the year-end touring numbers for 2014 offer more proof.

StubHub have released their list of the biggest-selling concerts of the year, and two of country’s biggest stars placed near the very top. George Strait‘s farewell date of the Cowboy Rides Away Tour placed at No. 2, while Luke Bryan came in at No. 3.

Strait’s tour played enormous venues in every market, but the final night of the tour at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas drew such huge numbers to the online ticket vendor that it outsold the next two acts in line — concerts from Bryan and Justin Timberlake — combined, drawing $18 million in total ticket sales.

“I don’t think we realize how huge country music is,” StubHub lead rep Glen Lehrman tells Ad Week. “Traditionally, we think of pop music as the one that is going to drive the most interest in ticket sales — your Beyonce, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga. George Strait didn’t do that many dates, but his last concert ever was by far one of the biggest events we had in 2014.”

Farewell tours and reunion tours drew very well overall in 2014.

“There’s a nostalgia factor,” Lehrman observes. “If you look at Cher, the audience that goes to see her is the Baby Boomer audience. Her ticket prices are higher that many others, but her fans don’t mind because they have the most means. Backstreet Boys and New Edition are appealing to moms in their 30s and 40s. It’s an excuse for a night out.”

Lehrman is hopeful that 2015 will be an even bigger year for touring acts, with major tours from Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, Garth Brooks, Bryan and many more.

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