Michael Deeds on concert prices, a DirecTV purchase and Albertsons Stadium

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comMay 23, 2014 

Michael Deeds

The following observation isn't an attempt to be petty - or to single out the esteemed Mr. Tom Petty, who will perform Aug. 5 at Taco Bell Arena.

But when Petty and his Heartbreakers last visited the Treasure Valley for a 2002 show at the Idaho Center, tickets were $28.50, $38.50 and $48.50 (plus fees).

Tickets to this summer's performance will cost $52, $77 and $101.50 (plus fees), according to vendor Boise State Tickets.

Petty's show cost doesn't really seem out of line. We all know that prices have risen.

But by, like, 100 percent in the past 12 years?

It's an illuminating snapshot of the concert industry's pricing evolution.

Each ticket comes with a copy of Petty's coming album, "Hypnotic Eye." And, yes, many of Petty's fans are baby boomers who remember a time when albums had actual monetary value. (Which partly explains higher concert prices nowadays.)

Still, it's enough to make a fan say: Don't do me like that. Stop draggin' my wallet around. You wreck me, baby - or at least my credit rating.

So will the steeper tickets prevent the Petty concert from selling out?

We shall see. Either way, if you manage to score great seats at market price when the show goes on sale at 10 a.m. May 31, you got lucky, babe.

DIRECTV BUY: If you're a sports fan, the pay-TV industry has got you by the footballs, baseballs and basketballs. Sports junkies like me are a major component of the customer base that companies such as DirecTV count on to tolerate price increases.

So it's not surprising that AT&T wants to swallow up DirecTV to the tune of $48.5 billion. It's a power play. The more households that AT&T controls, the harder it can put the screws to content providers at the negotiating table. The Los Angeles Times and New York Times both used the same word this week to describe AT&T's motive behind wanting to become the nation's second-largest pay-TV provider: "clout."

If AT&T managed to save money, would it wind up passing the savings on to customers? Doubtful. Also, an unpleasant side effect probably would be that strong-armed content providers would turn around and try to gouge smaller pay-TV companies. (Uh-oh, Cable One.)

Wait, did I say "gouge"? I meant "stab." The entire pay-TV/cable network industry feels like an endless loop of that shower scene from "Pyscho." And the camera always ends up panning down to the bloodied, twitching consumer, still clinging to his wallet and a remote that controls 100 channels he doesn't actually want.

It's tough to imagine any scenario where AT&T acquiring DirecTV would be good for us - at least those of us who haven't already fled to Hulu, Netflix and a Roku player.

Let's hope federal regulators agree. Because sports-fan customers are doomed suckers. We'll probably keep paying no matter how insane our monthly pay-TV bill gets. Living without every college football TV game just ain't gonna happen, even if I have to beg for change from an Albertsons parking lot.

Speaking of which ...

STADIUM: I have just one question for Boise State about the new Albertsons Stadium: Will it be cheaper to buy football tickets at Winco?

EVEL UPDATE: Despite the jaw-dropping fact that Fox Broadcasting Company says it plans to air two separate, rocket-powered jump attempts over the Snake River Canyon, I'm not setting the ol' DVR for Sept. 7 just yet.

I'm holding out for a full series.

In a press-release mention, Fox spun this supposed TV special almost as if it was one of those staged reality-TV shows: "This fall, on the 40th anniversary of Evel Knievel's high-stakes attempt to jump across Idaho's Snake River Canyon, two very different personalities - professional stuntman Eddie Braun and daredevil Big Ed Beckley - hope to achieve what Knievel could not by crossing the gaping 500-foot-deep canyon LIVE on 'JUMP OF THE CENTURY.' "

Brother. Or should I say, "Big Brother." Can Braun and Beckley immediately move into a house with a TV crew and be filmed every day feuding and partying at Twin Falls nightclubs, too? Preferably with the cast from Oxygen Network's "Bad Girls Club"?

"Jump of the Century" is a working title, Fox explains. In other words, this Snake River jump TV special is far from a done deal.

I can't wait to see what happens next. I'm serious.

The inevitable crash hasn't even happened, and already, I can't turn away.

Michael Deeds' column runs Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life. He co-hosts "The Other Studio" at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River and appears Thursdays on Channel 6 News.

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service