Earlier this month, the popular Chinese boy band, TFBoys, under the aegis of Time Fengjun Entertainment Company, celebrated a decade in the industry with a grand concert at the Xi’an Olympic Sports Center Stadium. This event didn’t just enthrall fans but also put Xi’an in the limelight, generating a substantial $57.7 million (416 million RMB) in tourism revenue. This feat emphasizes the burgeoning influence of the idol economy and China’s market rebound after three years of lockdown.
Since their 2013 debut, TFBoys have been a force to reckon with in the entertainment sector. By 2018, their commercial valuation from endorsements and branding soared to a staggering $430 million (3 billion RMB). Their anniversary concert, potentially their swan song as a group, attracted significant attention. Damai, the concert’s sole ticket distributor, was inundated with over 6 million hopeful attendees vying for a mere 33,055 seats. To ensure transparency, ticketing procedures included real-name authentication and facial recognition. Despite these stringent measures, tickets were snapped up in moments, with some premium seats reportedly being resold for an eye-watering $69,350 (500,000 RMB) each.
Youku, an Alibaba subsidiary, had exclusive live-streaming rights for the concert and introduced a three-tiered ticketing system, each with distinct pricing and benefits. This innovative pricing strategy garnered a remarkable 1.78 million online reservations.
Revenue streams from the concert were diverse, spanning ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise, and IP operations. Pepsi emerged as the primary sponsor, with Nanfu Batteries joining the ranks as an official partner. The event’s commemorative albums clinched top spots on the KuGou Music Store’s annual sales charts. A merchandise collaboration with the VOBA brand also witnessed robust sales, with co-branded T-shirts alone generating $27,740 (200,000 RMB) in a matter of days.
The concert also provided a significant fillip to Xi’an’s local economy. Accommodation bookings online witnessed a surge coinciding with the concert date. From August 6-7, travel bookings in Xi’an soared by 738% YoY. The lion’s share of these visitors hailed from the post-2000 generation, while the post-1980 and post-1990 cohorts represented 23% and 21%, respectively. A notable 80% of these tourists opted for overnight stays, averaging 2.36 days. Nearly half explored other local attractions, visiting approximately 2.81 sites per individual.
Interestingly, a whopping 83% of ticket buyers were non-residents of Xi’an. This aligns with a trend highlighted by the China Association of Performing Arts, which notes that cross-city concert attendance now surpasses 50%. Concerts are no longer just musical events for fans; they’re travel experiences, with expenditures spanning tickets, transport, shopping, lodging, dining, and local excursions. This shift positions concerts as formidable economic stimulants, enriching local economies and amplifying city reputations.
Buoyed by this success, Xi’an is prepping to host 17 major concerts, spotlighting artists like Liu Ruoying. Other Chinese metropolises are also capitalizing on concert tourism. For instance, performances by international sensations like Blackpink and Jacky Cheung have invigorated Macau’s tourism and luxury sectors. In July, pop icon Jay Chou’s Haikou concert drew a crowd of 154,600, with 61.5% from outside the province, translating to a revenue of $135.36 million (976 million RMB).
Post-pandemic, China’s live performance sector is witnessing a resurgence. The China Association of Performing Arts reported a staggering 193,300 commercial performances in the first half of this year, marking a 400.86% YoY increase. Ticket sales skyrocketed to $2.33 billion (16.79 billion RMB), a 673.49% surge, with the total audience ballooning to 62.24 million.
This economic blueprint enjoys robust governmental backing. On July 31, the National Development and Reform Commission’s “Notice on Restoring and Expanding Consumption Measures” secured endorsement from China’s State Council Office. This directive champions cultural and entertainment consumption, advocating for streamlined approvals, bolstered safety protocols, and enhanced services for large-scale events. With unwavering central and local government support, the symbiosis of concerts and urban development is set to prosper in Chinese urban landscapes.