01.06.05 Sting is going back to school....

His stripped-down 'Broken Music' tour has many college campuses on its route, and ticket prices are lower than those of his previous outings.

Tour organizers say younger crowds, who may have skipped Sting's recent higher-priced 'Sacred Music' tour and his dates with Annie Lennox, will be more likely to attend 'Broken Music' because of the reasonable ticket prices.

Additionally, Sting will be playing many markets and venues for the first time.

"If you follow Sting's career, you know that he has a history of shaking things up," says his manager, Kathyrn Schenker. "Going back to playing colleges for the first time since the Police days is almost like starting over again."

Arthur Fogel, president of TNA International, which is Clear Channel Entertainment's touring division, says Broken Music has a "whole different feel to a leg of a tour for Sting."

Fogel notes that the average price is in the $40 range and that some seats are as low as $29.50.

"The ticket price was a sensible one bearing in mind we are playing mostly on college campuses," Schenker says.

'Broken Music' will feature Sting playing bass in a four-piece band with guitarists Dominic Miller and Shane Fontayne and drummer Josh Freese. Phantom Planet will serve as the opening act.

The tour begins April 1 in California at the San Jose State University Event Center. Dates have been routed through April 30, with more cities expected to be announced. Stops include such other university venues as McArthur Court at the University of Oregon in Eugene (April 3) and Adams Center at the University of Montana in Missoula. (April 7). Additional dates will be played at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia (April 5); Idaho Center in Boise, Idaho (April 9); and the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J. (April 29 and 30).

Before embarking on the tour, Sting has shows scheduled in Southeast Asia, Japan and Australia; the dates begin this month and run through mid-February.

Though Sting toured extensively in 2004, Fogel believes there are untapped audiences that 'Broken Music' will target.

Sting had the No. 7 grossing tour of 2004, according to Billboard Boxscore. His 'Sacred Love' dates, combined with his summer tour with Lennox, grossed $52.4 million. Attendance was 822,520 for the 77 shows reported to Boxscore, with 34 sellouts.

'Broken Music' includes such first-time stops as Columbia, Mo., Fogel says, as well as markets Sting has not played recently, like Salt Lake City.

The strategy has paid off, with strong ticket sales four months before show dates. Indeed, Schenker says that "just days" after 11 shows were put on sale Dec. 4, "all are almost sold out."

Following the conclusion of the 'Broken Music' tour, Schenker says, Sting will "take a well-deserved break."

From Billboard...