It Costs as Much as $1,000 a Ticket To See Elevation Worship in LA. Why?
Elevation Church’s worship group, named Elevation Worship, is going on a West Coast tour, which includes stops in San Diego, Las Vegas, Oakland, Sacramento, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Called “Elevation Nights,” the tour will feature appearances from Elevation Church senior pastor Steven Furtick.
“It’s gonna be me, Holly, Elevation Worship…Unbelievable, these nights,” Furtick said as he stood alongside his wife, Holly Furtick, in a promotional video.
Many have expressed excitement that Elevation Worship, an award-winning musical collective whose songs are used in church worship services around the nation every weekend, is coming to a city near them.
However, after attempting to purchase tickets, some have been left reeling from sticker shock.
While fans can find tickets for as low as $11.43 a seat in a section toward the back of the Oakland Arena and $20 a seat for the very back row of the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona, if worshippers want a front row seat to see Elevation Worship at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles on November 3, they should expect to pay $1,080.25 a seat plus booking fees—which bring the total to $1,240.15 for one seat. Parking is an additional $45 to $60.
For the Kia Forum concert, the cheapest seat still available in the floor section is $84.75, and some other seats one section up are available for between $60 to $70. Seats on the back row of the uppermost terrace cost $44.75.
Given the fact that the concerts will essentially take the form of a worship service, with praise songs accompanied by a sermon, some are questioning why many of the tickets are so expensive.
While critics have been quick to cite high ticket prices as evidence of Furtick and Elevation Church taking advantage of an opportunity to line their pockets, it is notable that the cost of concert tickets has soared across the board in recent years. In fact, the average concert ticket has more than tripled in price since the middle of the 1990s.
In a segment of Last Week Tonight aired earlier this year, John Oliver sought to explain this trend and how companies like Ticketmaster, which are facilitating ticket sales for these Elevation Worship events, may be to blame.
“It is no secret Ticketmaster is horrible,” Oliver said. “But exactly how it is horrible is genuinely interesting.”
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In addition to accusations that Ticketmaster coerces artists into using its services through its merger with Live Nation, an events promoter with operational control over many of the nation’s top venues, Oliver pointed out that a vast majority of concert tickets are often held back from the general public. They are instead sold to ticket brokers, who resell them at an enormous markup, often on sites like Ticketmaster.
In some cases, tickets can appear on Ticketmaster at a markup of 1,000%. In those cases, the fact that an artist set the price of tickets at or below market value has little to no bearing on the final cost to concertgoers.
While Ticketmaster has denied accusations that it puts pressure on artists to use its services and has said that it spends considerable resources to “weed out bad behavior” by ticket brokers and others, the fact remains that the company profits greatly from fees negotiated with the venue, often owned or operated by its own Live Nation, and then profits a second time when ticket brokers resell tickets on their site at a markup.
On the other hand, Elevation Worship, which refers to itself on its website as a ministry of Elevation Church, does generate significant revenue through views and listens on YouTube and Spotify, the sale of albums and merchandise, and, presumably, concert ticket sales.
Furtick, who in addition to his pastorate at Elevation Church is the author of multiple books and a principal songwriter for the worship band that has sold over 2.5 million albums in the United States, has a net worth of approximately $50-60 million, according to some estimates.
Elevation Church is currently in good standing with their accreditation from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), an American financial standards association representing Evangelical Christian organizations and churches.
ChurchLeaders has reached out to Elevation Church for comment and will update this article in the event of their response.