Ed Sheeran dominated Pollstar’s 2018 mid-year touring charts with a whopping $213.9 million gross, the largest recorded since the tally began in 2009. It’s a massive 40% increase over last year’s No. 1 ranked Guns N’ Roses trek, which totaled $151.5 million and 20% higher than the chart’s previous all-time leader, AC/DC, who brought in $177.5 million in 2010.
Sheeran’s six-month tally is $100 million more than that of the No. 2 top-grossing artist, Bruno Mars — who rang in with $113 million — and more than double the individual grosses from the rest of the list, which includes The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Pink and others. He also sold a staggering 2.62 million tickets, nearly double Guns N’ Roses 1.39 million in 2017 and 44% higher than AC/DC’s previous high of 1.82 million in 2010.
Sheeran’s feat ushers in great news for the live-entertainment industry, as the chart shows a 12% jump in total gross to a record-setting $2.21 billion from last year’s $1.97 billion — a $240 million increase and a big bump up from 2017’s mid-year gross, which actually decreased by $10 million.
A big jump in average ticket prices also contributed to that record gross, with a record high of $96.31 – up 14.1% and nearly $12 more than 2017’s $84.40, all while the total number of tickets sold remained relatively constant, with a 2.1% drop to 22.9 million from 2017’s 23.4 million. The chart’s ticket price high was set by “Springsteen On Broadway,” which on average cost $509.
Part of Sheeran’s advantage comes down to the number of shows he’s performed: 52 in 21 cities, which is more than anyone else in the top 10, although Mars and No. 9-placed Roger Waters both came in with 50. Also, Sheeran dates for 2018 have been outside North America, with stops in Australia and New Zealand, Asia and Europe continuing through August — and after just six days’ rest, he’ll launch a North American stadium tour at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles on Aug. 18 that carries through until November, with the tour finally winding down to a close in South Africa in March.