Ed Sheeran’s “Divide” tour has officially become the highest-grossing concert tour ever, surpassing U2’s 2009-2011 “360°” tour for the title, The Guardian reports. Sheeran’s tour still has 12 dates to go, as of this writing.
With a dozen dates still left on the calendar, the “Shape of You” singer’s tour has already raked in £607 million (about $736 million). Back in 2009-2011, U2’s tour brought in $735 million when all was said and done.
There are other reasons to be impressed with Sheeran’s feat. For starters, U2’s “360°” tour brought in 7.3 million concert-goers across 110 performances. Sheeran, by comparison, is expected to have brought in 8.5 million across 255 performances (U2’s number was also a record at the time, and Sheeran’s expected attendance number will be a record). Further, U2 performed in stadiums with an average seating capacity of over 60,000, while Sheeran favors the relatively smaller 35,000-seat venues (on average). U2 sold expensive VIP packages and generally sold their tickets for higher prices, while Sheeran eschews VIP packages and sells his tickets at a lower price.
What’s more, Sheeran isn’t even 30, and has only been on the music scene for a few years. In 2011, the men in U2 were all in the neighborhood of 50, and that band had been a thing for the better part of three decades.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) August 2, 2019
Not bad for a kid from Suffolk who got his start singing in church.
In a statement on his Instagram account, Sheeran thanked his fans and supporters.
“Thanks so much for each and every one of you who have come to a show. 12 shows left, will never forget it,” he wrote.
Sheeran’s manager, Stuart Camp, was effusive in his praise for his client.
“What Ed has accomplished is truly incredible … to even be in the same ballpark as [U2] or spoken in the same sentence with a touring act like that is very humbling,” he said.
While in the midst of his record-breaking tour, Sheeran managed to record a No. 1 album, No. 6 Collaborations Project, working with performers such as Cardi B, Bruno Mars, Stormzy, Eminem, and Justin Bieber.
In case you were wondering, InfoPlease lists the top ten highest-grossing concert tours, not counting Ed’s “Divide” Tour, as follows:
#1: U2, 360° Tour, 2009-2011
#2: The Rolling Stones, A Bigger Bang Tour, 2005-2007
#3: Roger Waters, The Wall Live, 2010-2013
#4: AC/DC, Black Ice World Tour, 2008-2010
#5: Madonna, Sticky & Sweet Tour, 2008-2009
#6: U2, Vertigo Tour, 2005-2006
#7: The Police, The Police Reunion Tour, 2007-2008
#8: Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball World Tour, 2012-2013
#9: The Rolling Stones, Voodoo Lounge Tour, 1994-1995
#10: The Rolling Stones, Licks Tour, 2002-2003
It bears noting, however, that different sources provide slightly different lists of the top tours and how much money they made. Some of those differences could be due to adjustments (or lack thereof) for inflation, and/or the accounting process used by the reporting sources.