The 10 Top Grossing Tours Of All Time – #1 Is Surprising!

By on September 5, 2019 in ArticlesEntertainment

Ed Sheeran has been having a good year. Not only did he marry his longtime girlfriend, he also ended his highest-ever grossing tour, with $775.6 million in revenue for his Divide tour. Sheeran sold 8.6 million tickets across six continents with 255 total shows. According to Pollstar, that makes the Divide tour the highest grossing tour of all time – by far. The second highest-grossing tour, U2's 360 tour from 2009 to 2011, comes in with more than $40 million less than Sheeran. The ginger haired singer brings in roughly $4 million per show.

Sheeran officially broke U2's record during the German leg of his tour in early August. It is important to note that the artists don't take home every single dollar of the gross revenues. Where the ticket money goes is a more complicated subject that will be addressed in a separate article. These gross revenue sums do not include merchandise, an increase in music sales, or how much Sheeran and other musicians earn from tour sponsors.

Paul Kane/Getty Images

Stuart Camp, Sheeran's longtime manager said:

"What Ed has accomplished is truly incredible. I thought we might have a shot at having the highest attendance record but not the highest-grossing tour."

A year and a half ago, Sheeran credited his years being broke and homeless with his success. He headed to London as a teenager to try to make it in the music business. He couch surfed at friend's houses. From 2008-2010 he found himself sleeping outside Buckingham Palace.

In April 2010, 19-year-old Sheeran bought a ticket to Los Angeles, determined to seek his fortune. He played open mic nights all over the city, eventually landing at Jamie Foxx's The Foxxhole. Foxx was very impressed with the teenager and offered him the use of his personal recording studio, as well as a place to stay in his Hollywood home.

In early 2011, Sheeran released the EP No. 5 Collaborations Project, which caught the attention of Elton John. He signed with Asylum Records, and released his debut album, +, on September 9, 2011. That album has since been certified six times platinum in the UK.

It wasn't until 2012 that audiences outside of the UK began to take notice of Sheeran. Not coincidentally, this was in large part because he made a guest appearance on Taylor Swift's album Red. He also released his debut single that year. "The A Team" was nominated for 2013's Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards. Sheeran performed the song with Elton John on the broadcast. He spent much of 2013 opening for Taylor Swift on her Red tour.

Sheeran's second studio album, x, was released on June 23, 2014. The album's third single "Thinking Out Loud," proved to be the winner. The song and accompanying video, which featured Sheeran and a woman ballroom dancing, became his biggest hit to-date. The song spent eight weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Sheeran released "Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill" the first two new singles in two years on January 6, 2017. Divide followed on March 3, 2017. It debuted at No. 1 in 14 countries.

Sheeran's Divide Tour is the third world concert tour by the singer-songwriter.

#10. Pink

Tour: Beautiful Trauma

Year: 2018-ongoing

Gross revenue: $380.3 million

Tickets sold: 3 million

Performances: 154

#9. U2

Tour: Vertigo

Year: 2005-2006

Gross revenue: $395.6 million

Tickets sold: 4.6 million

Performances: 131

#8. Madonna

Tour: Sticky & Sweet

Year: 2008-2009

Gross revenue: $411.1 million

Tickets sold: 3.5 million

Performances: 85

#7. AC/DC

Tour: Black Ice

Year 2008-2010

Gross revenue: $441.9 million

Tickets sold: 4.9 million

Performances: 165

#6. Roger Waters

Tour: The Wall Live

Year: 2010-2013

Gross revenue: $460.2 million

Tickets sold: 4.1 million

Performances: 220

#5. Coldplay

Tour: A Head Full of Dreams

Year: 2017

Gross revenue: $523 million

Tickets sold: 5.3 million

Performances: 114

#4. The Rolling Stones

Tour: A Bigger Bang

Year: 2005-2007

Gross revenue: $558.2 million

Tickets sold: 4.6 million

Tickets sold: 144

#3. Guns N' Roses

Tour: Not In This Lifetime

Year: 2016-ongoing

Gross revenue: $561.1 million

Tickets sold: 5.1 million

Performances: 145

#2. U2

Tour: 360

Year: 2009-2011

Gross: $735.3 million

Tickets sold: 7.2 million

Performances: 110

#1. Ed Sheeran

Tour: Divide

Year: 2017-2019

Gross revenue $775.6 million

Tickets sold: 8.6 million

Performances: 255

Articles Written by Amy Lamare
Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based writer covering business, technology, entertainment, philanthropy, and pop culture. She spent 8 1/2 years covering the entertainment industry for www.hsx.com. She has written for Los Angeles Magazine, Your Tango, Thinknum Media, and various airline magazines. Follow her on Facebook. Amy's favorite self-made billionaire is Sara Blakely.
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