Ed Sheeran’s Divide tour generated $432m in 2018 – a new world record

Credit: Warner Music Group

Ed Sheeran’s Divide tour grossed US $432.4m in ticket sales during 2018 – an all-time record in a calendar year.

That’s according to new figures supplied by box office monitor Pollstar, which said that the worldwide concert industry saw a record-setting $10.4bn spent across 152.1m tickets in the 12 months.

Sheeran’s mammoth Divide run actually began in March 2017 in Turin, with the latest date played on November 9 in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The first Divide show in 2018 came on February 19 at the O2 Arena in London.

To date, including 2017’s concerts, Sheeran’s Divide run is already the third highest-grossing tour ever ($554.6m) behind U2’s 360 ($735m) and the Rolling Stones’ A Bigger Bang ($558m).

The Divide tour has another 50 scheduled dates in the diary for 2019, taking in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe before finishing up in Sheeran’s home county of Suffolk (UK), at Ipswich’s Chantry Park on August 26 next year.

In 2018, Sheeran played 94 dates across Europe, Asia-Pacific, Asia and North America, with an average per-night gross of $4.6m.

If the Shape Of You Star can keep up that average across his 50 dates in 2019, his Divide tour will finish its three-year run by generating more than $660m in ticket sales.

Sheeran wasn’t the only superstar with a huge live run this year, either.

Taylor Swift’s Reputation tour, which recently became the highest-grossing ever live run in the US, generated $345m worldwide in 2018, says Pollstar – the second biggest of the year behind Sheeran. In North America, Swift topped Pollstar’s Top 100 tours chart, grossing $277.3m.

Swift is now within $74.3 million of reaching $1 billion in ticket sales across her career.

Combined grosses from Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift’s global tours alone – that’s $777.5m – comprised 14% of the overall gross of the Top 100 Worldwide Tours in 2018.

Add in Jay Z and Beyoncé’s 2018 tour ($254.1m), and the top three artist tours this year generated over $1bn in annual ticket sales.

Pollstar’s Top 100 World Wide tours totalled $5.6bn with 59.8 million tickets sold, compiled from 3,691 event records.

Pollstar’s Top 100 North American tours totalled $3.7bn with 40 million tickets sold, compiled from 3,025 event records.

2018 Top 10 Worldwide Tours (Gross in $m / Artist Name / Tickets sold)

 432.4              Ed Sheeran                            4,860,482*
 345.1              Taylor Swift                          2,888,892
 254.1              Jay-Z / Beyoncé                   2,169,050
 169.2              Pink                                        1,285,411
 167.6              Bruno Mars                           1,290,438*
 166.0             Eagles                                    964,245
 151.0              Justin Timberlake                1,193,365
 131.3              Roger Waters                        1,448,771
 126.2              U2                                           927,034*
 116.6              The Rolling Stones              750,914*  

2018 Top 10 North American Tours (Gross in $m / Artist Name / Tickets sold)

277.3              Taylor Swift                          1,268,706
166.4              Jay-Z / Beyoncé                   1,298,038
166.0             Eagles                                    964,245
114.4              Kenny Chesney                    1,297,731
110.0              Justin Timberlake                791,780
105.0             Ed Sheeran                            1,136,497
97.8               Journey / Def Leppard        1,000,272
95.3               Pink                                        688,558
88.3               Springsteen On Broadway  173,461
79.0               Drake                                     678,410

Top 3 Promoters (2018, inc tickets sold)
  1. Live Nation                         49.6 million tickets                         
  2. AEG Presents                     11.6 million tickets
  3. Messina Touring Group    5.3 million tickets

Top Stadiums (2018, inc tickets sold)
  1. Foro Sol                                              Mexico City, Mexico          887,802
  2. MetLife Stadium                               East Rutherford, NJ          521,215
  3. Gillette Stadium                                Foxboro, MA                       454,383

Top Amphitheaters (2018, inc tickets sold)
  1. Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center      Noblesville, IN           588,023
  2. BB&T Pavilion                                             Camden, NJ              505,287
  3. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion   The Woodlands, TX   467,620

Top Theaters (inc tickets sold)
  1. Auditorio Nacional                           Mexico City, Mexico          1,325,493
  2. Radio City Music Hall                      New York, NY                     1,004,255
  3. Fox Theatre                                        Atlanta, GA                         704,828

All data: Pollstar, who received, inputted and verified more than 44,000 records in 2018.Music Business Worldwide

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