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Backstreet Boys Sell Out 53 Dates in One Day
Backstreet Boys' sales continue hot year for concert industry

That sucking sound you heard Saturday was $30 million worth of Backstreet Boys tickets being snatched up. According to the group's management, BSB sold 765,000 tickets on Saturday, and in the process sold-out all 53 scheduled dates of the group's Into the Millennium Tour, which runs from Sept. 14 through Dec. 12. It's yet another strong sign for the concert industry, which continues to enjoy an especially lucrative year. "That's as hot as it gets," says Ray Waddell, who covers the concert industry for Amusement Business magazine. He notes that it's unusual for an entire tour to go on sale the same day, and that groups often test the waters first to gauge fan consumer reaction a few markets at a time. Not BSB. "That speaks to their confidence," says Waddell. BSB co-manager Jeff Kwatinetz explained the strategy: "It was a lot of extra work and left us no room for error. But the upside is we created an event." Indeed, BSB sold out the 20,000-seat Auburn Hills Palace, outside of Detroit, for three nights. Tickets for the first show were gone in eight minutes, which beat the venue's former record, held by hometown hero Madonna, who sold out the Palace in ten minutes back in 1993. It's all part of the Backstreet Boys juggernaut, which shows no signs of slowing down. In just seven months time, the group has sold six million albums in America, according to SoundScan, with their latest, Millennium, selling more than 4.5 million copies since its release just three months ago. If you were between the ages of eight and eighteen it was hard to miss the BSB tour news last weekend. With MTV, the Disney Channel and a new batch of commercials from Sears (the group's new sponsor) all touting the on-sale date, the hype was heavy and it paid off handsomely. The $30 million figure is especially impressive considering BSB ticket prices were somewhat modest by today's standards at $38.50 and $28.50 (not including service charges). Along with the BSB's money-printing tour, the fall season is shaping up to be memorable one for promoters. Ricky Martin has already sold out most of his autumn dates. (International commitments are keeping him from the full-fledged U.S. tour American promoters are begging for.) Bruce Springsteen will continue to play to packed houses. And the Family Values tour, set to star Limp Bizkit, DMX and Filter, is a virtual guaranteed sell-out. Family Values dates in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Detroit may go on sale within the next week. ERIC BOEHLERT

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