Britney, ‘NSYNC Buried In Ticket Sales By McCartney, Stones

Former Beatle made $126.1 million in first tour in nearly a decade.

‘NSYNC and Britney Spears took a distant back seat to dinosaur rockers Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Cher this year when it came to concert ticket sales.

As alarming as that might seem to Timberlake groupies, it probably has a lot more to do with the limited number of shows the young stars played than with any sort of pop backlash or classic rock revolution. Touring for the first time in almost a decade, McCartney netted $126.1 million, according to data from Billboard Boxscores. The former Beatle landed $98.8 million from U.S. shows and an additional $27.5 million from gigs in Mexico and Japan.

The Stones, who staged a tour with multiple stops in large stadiums, smaller arenas and intimate theaters, brought in around $90 million from performances to more than 700,000 people. Cher managed to rank high with a lengthy farewell tour that made $67.6 million and will continue well into 2003.

Last year Billy Joel and Elton John enjoyed touring success together, and this year they correctly assumed that fans just can’t get enough of a good thing. The duo grossed $66 million with 34 arena dates and plan to play more dates together next year.

The exhaustively touring Dave Matthews Band made $52.8 million in 2002. Even without playing any stadiums, the band performed for 1.4 million fans, more people than any other artist this year.

Also earning big were Neil Diamond, who netted $52.2 million; Spears, who took in $43.7 million; and Creed, who grossed $37.3 million from 80 shows. The band might have scored higher on the chart, but its tour was marred with postponements and cancellations (see “Creed Reschedule Tour Dates” ).

Classic rockers the Eagles and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young both brought in receipts for $34.9 million, and Aerosmith grossed $36.3 million.

‘NSYNC earned $33 million on the road, compared to a whopping $90.2 million the year before (see “U2, ‘NSYNC, Backstreet Top List Of 2001′s Biggest Concert Grossers” ), but the band took much of the year off while Lance Bass trained to blast into space and Justin Timberlake worked on his first solo record.

Other top earners included: Jimmy Buffett ($27.7 million), the Who ($28.6 million), Ozzfest ($24.5 million), Barry Manilow ($23.9 million), Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band ($22.2 million), and Blink-182 and Green Day ($20 million).