The Bay Area Has Only One Club in the World's Top 100, According to Pollstar. Huh?

Categories: Bummer, Clubs

The No. 30 club in the world, according to Pollstar.

Update: Aaron Siuda, vice president of marketing at Live Nation Northern California, says that his firm generally does not report ticket sales to Pollstar. But he said if it had provided numbers, the Fillmore would have been in the Top 10 clubs on the Pollstar list. (Shoreline, also a Live Nation venue, wasn't on the Pollstar list of top amphitheaters. If numbers had been reported, Suida says, it would have been No. 2.) This feels more like the Bay Area music scene we know.

Original story: The concert industry trade site Pollstar released its annual list of the Top 100 clubs in the world today, as ranked by reported ticket sales, and San Francisco -- and indeed the entire Bay Area -- somehow has only one entry.

Since there are six listings in the L.A. area, three in the Twin Cities, seven in New York City, and three in Portland, it's kind of surprising that only the Independent made the list at No. 30, with 87,601 tickets sold in 2011, just behind Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, Okla.

This is only a list of what Pollstar deems "clubs," not amphitheaters or arenas -- which could be why places like the Fillmore, the Fox, and the Warfield didn't make the list. (But to our minds, it still doesn't explain why New York City's Terminal 5, which has a capacity of 3,000, would make the list, while the smaller Fillmore and Fox wouldn't.)

Terminal 5, by the way, was ranked No. 1 worldwide in 2011, with 258,903 tickets sold. Other notable listees include the Ace of Spades in Sacramento, the Knitting Factory in Reno, and something called the Hot Entertainment Destination in Fargo, North Dakota.

Check out the list full below. If you have any thoughts as to why the Bay Area did so poorly on this list, please share them in the comments.

Pollstar Full List.png

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The Independent

628 Divisadero, San Francisco, CA

Category: Music

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Dawn Holliday
Dawn Holliday

pollstar is totally an old boys network. the reporting for the most part is false and you are often asked to over report to make the bands look better or for more negative reasons under report.  we stopped reporting years ago when we found out the reality of it meant nothing. the bigger problem for me though was that there was NO coverage for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass this year *almost a million people* over 4 days and it didn't get a bit of ink. nor was it on the festival ballot. why ????? my guess it is free. which means no no makes any money.also, i do't golf with the boys or smoke cigars and don't know the boys rules. the only good thing about pollster is that you can find out what acts have signed with what agencies fairly fast. so, no Slims, Gamh  and obviously Hardly Strictly Bluegrass do not report. best,dawn holliday


The real story is why DON'T these venues report their ticket sales?  And the answer is would be funny if it wasn't so pathetically correlative to what is wrong with our country.  

Like most years since forming, Live Nations numbers were pathetically in the tank.  Investors and board members were starting to revolt, big debt notes were coming due, stock prices were plummeting, and the cash infusion from the Ticketmaster merger (the latest in a long series of shell game maneuvers) still couldn't hide the fact that Live Nation was getting killed at the box office.  

After a particularly rough board meeting, Irving Azoff determined that reported box office numbers were "too confusing" for the Board and stock market analysts to understand, and in order to clear the air, stopped reporting ticket sales for the majority of Live Nation venues.  To clarify this position, the Board of Directors, along with the MIT quants that deal in derivatives, credit default swaps, and complex transactions are incapable of comprehending that a room that holds 10,000 people and has sold 1500 tickets is a bad thing.  I would suggest that a more plausible explanation would be that the numbers were horrific, and self reporting them damaged their market position.So Live Nation venues: you can't have it both ways.  Yes you are an uber company and yes you would likely own a good portion of the chart.  But you're acting like a prize fighter that doesn't take any fights but still thinks himself the champ.  Either report your numbers and get ranked accordingly, or acknowledge that you solely and voluntarily withdrew from the rankings. Don't tell us what could or should be the "real" rankings. 

Mt man
Mt man

Fox Oakland has a capacity of at least 3000. Heard Terminal 5 isn't that hot as far as sound and sight lines go. 

Surprised that the Tower Theatre in Philly didn't make this list, or the Wiltern in LA

Gordon Elgart
Gordon Elgart

I'd guess that the Slims/Great American Music Hall people may not report ticket sales to these people. I can't imagine they didn't do at least 25,000 tickets sold in 2011. 

The Warfield and Fox are surely considered "theater" venues. Terminal 5 is an awful, giant, cavernous place, but it definitely feels like a club.

The Fillmore is an obvious exclusion, though. Is it possible Livenation didn't report these figures? Perhaps they were worse than they wanted to report?

The only other club I'd imagine should be on here is Mezzanine. But I can't really think of what their sales number would be. Better than 25,000 I'd imagine, though. Way better.

Ian S. Port
Ian S. Port

Hey Gordon, those were my thoughts as well in terms of the S.F. venues. Never been to Terminal 5, so I can't comment on its feel. But I have inquiries out to a few of the likely local suspects. If I get anything, I'll update this.

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