When Taylor Swift breezes through Tampa next week for a sold-out three-night stand at Raymond James Stadium, she’s poised to rake in a lot of dough.
So are, most likely, Hillsborough County taxpayers.
The singer’s last two concerts in Tampa, in 2015 and 2018, brought the Tampa Sports Authority, which operates the county-owned stadium, nearly $2.2 million in revenue, according to analyses of each event.
Minus the costs associated with staging the concert — including labor and a profit-sharing agreement with the Buccaneers — that translates to a gross profit of at least $730,000 for the Sports Authority.
Booking agreements with publicly owned operators of sports or convention venues are exempt from Florida’s public records law, which means revenue estimates for this month’s shows aren’t available. But receipts from the past two shows Swift and Tampa regard each other as good for business.
“We’re moving ourselves into a very exclusive group of concerts, and we’re starting to see some of the acts gravitate around us,” Sports Authority CEO Eric Hart said during a board meeting in November. “Taylor is not playing Miami. That’s the pickup in how strong this market is and how well we’ve been performing on our shows.”
Swift’s 1989 Tour, which hit Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 31, 2015, was her most celebrated to that point, with surprise guests at most shows. Dropping by Tampa that night were Alessia Cara and, in a nod to Halloween, Broadway star Idina Menzel, dressed as Frozen’s Queen Elsa, singing “Let It Go,” with Swift dressed as Olaf the snowman.
The Tampa Sports Authority originally promoted the show themselves, guaranteeing Swift $2.75 million, though it later transferred those duties to an outside company that likely earned Swift much more. (Those amended agreements were shielded by public records law).
The show drew a crowd of 55,358, generating $888,845.60 in license fees (including suite sales and some ticket, merchandise and sponsorship revenue), $250,620 in concessions and about $126,000 in parking fees. The show incurred about $405,000 in direct expenses, mostly labor costs. Add it up and the show brought a gross profit of $858,791.54.
At the time, the Sports Authority had a revenue-sharing agreement with the Buccaneers for events like concerts. The Bucs would receive the first $2 million in gross annual profits, then the team and Sports Authority would split further profits 50-50. That would make the Sports Authority’s cut from Swift’s concert around $430,000.
Swift’s Reputation Tour, which hit Raymond James Stadium on Aug. 14, 2018, drew a slightly smaller crowd of 52,920. The agency did not promote the show, so it took in about half the licensing fees ($452,753.57) as before — Swift got ticket and merch revenue, the stadium got concessions ($302,047.00 and parking ($145,863.76).
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The generally younger crowd spent less per capita than fans at Kenny Chensey and Luke Bryan shows — just under $15 per head, Hart told the board afterward, with fewer cars in lots, too.
“We exceeded our budgets,” Hart said in late August 2018. “And the parking number came in where we expected. A lot of impact there from Uber and Lyft, unfortunately. But still a very good day for us.”
In all, the 2018 show brought in $900,664.33, with costs of about $450,000. By that time, the Sports Authority’s 50-50 revenue-split agreement with the Bucs had been amended to 67% for the agency and 33% for the team. That would have put the Sports Authority’s haul above $301,000.
A Sports Authority spokesperson did not respond to calls and texts seeking clarification on the agency’s exact profit, minus the Bucs’ take, for Swift’s 2015 and 2018 shows. But based on those 50-50 and 67-33 splits, the agency’s haul would have surpassed $731,000.
Swift’s new Eras Tour is being promoted by outside promoters, which suggests the Sports Authority’s profits from the April 13-15 shows should look more like those in 2018. If so, that should push the agency’s overall earnings from Swift’s shows since 2015 above $1 million.
As for Swift herself? Billboard and Forbes have estimated she’ll bring in between $590 million and $620 million on the Eras Tour. For the Tampa Sports Authority to garner any fraction of that would be a win.
“You’re going to start seeing the building moving into some significant gross territories,” Hart said in November. “Those are real ticket prices. Those are not for the faint of heart, and they’re going to sell them.”