Ed Sheeran’s record-smashing Divide tour concluded last night and Pollstar can officially confirm that it’s the highest-grossing tour of all time, reaching an overall gross of $775.6 million from 8.9 million tickets sold on six continents. The previous record was U2’s 360 tour, which reached $735.3 over the span of two years.
The final show (Monday, Aug. 26) was one of four held at Chantry Park in Ipswich, England, near Sheeran’s hometown. That four-night stand grossed $12.9 million on 139,984 tickets.
Sheeran reached No. 1 on the list of the all-time top-grossing tours earlier this month on Aug. 2 with the first night of a two-show run at Messegelände, a fairgrounds and outdoor exhibition area in Hannover, Germany. Sales from the first show took the Divide tour’s overall gross to $736.8 million, surpassing the gross record held by U2 for eight years. The Irish band earned a record-setting $735.3 million on the 360 tour that ran from Feb. 2009 through July 2011.
Following Sheeran and U2 are three tours in the $500 million range on the tally of all-time top grossers. Guns N’ Roses currently holds the third spot on the list with the band’s ongoing Not In This Lifetime… tour that is set to make a sweep through North American markets this fall. Overall tour grosses currently top the $560 million range but the band’s No. 3 all-time ranking will solidify as the tour progresses.
Pollstar’s Top-Grossing Tours of All-Time
Artist - Tour Name - Year(s) - Gross (in millions) - Tickets Sold (in millions) - # of shows
- Ed Sheeran - Divide - 2017-2019 - $775.6 - 8.9 - 255
- U2 - 360 - 2009-2011 - $735.3 - 7.2 - 110
- Guns N' Roses - Not In This Lifetime... - 2016-ongoing - $561.1 - 5.1 - 145
- The Rolling Stones - A Bigger Bang - 2005-2007 - $558.2 - 4.6 - 144
- Coldplay - A Head Full of Dreams - 2017-2017 - $523.0 - 5.3 - 114
- Roger Waters - The Wall Live - 2010-2013 - $460.2 - 4.1 - 220
- AC/DC - Black Ice - 2008-2010 - $441.9 - 4.9 - 165
- Madonna - Sticky & Sweet - 2008-2009 - $411.1 - 3.5 - 85
- U2 - Vertigo - 2005-2006 - $395.6 - 4.6 - 131
- Pink - Beautiful Trauma - 2018-ongoing - $380.3 - 3.0 – 154
The Rolling Stones were the first to smash the all-time highest-grossing tour record in this century, setting the bar high in 2007 after the completion of A Bigger Bang, the iconic rock band’s two-year trek that earned more than $558 million. Coldplay joined the top five in 2017 with an overall take that also topped half-a-billion dollars from A Head Full of Dreams tour, the band’s worldwide trek that included performances in 2016 and 2017.
The “Divide” tour spanned almost two-and-a-half years with 255 performances and broke a number of records around the world, including:
Denmark: Most tickets sold for one artist in one day.
France: Most concerts in the same stadium.
Ireland: Ed’s stadium tour of Ireland in May 2018 was the biggest tour in Irish history.
Scotland: Most amount of tickets sold ever at Glasgow Hampden Park.
Wales: First artist to sell out 4 consecutive nights; fastest selling artist in venue history.
South America: First artist ever to play three dates at Sao Paulo’s Allianz Stadium on one tour.
South Africa: Biggest ever and highest grossing tour with 225,000 tickets sold.
Jakarta: Biggest concert in its history.
Kuala Lumpur: Biggest concert in its history.
Hong Kong: Biggest-ever outdoor concerts.
Australia & New Zealand:
Highest ticket sales for a single concert tour in Australia.
Highest ticket sales for a single concert tour in New Zealand.
Biggest stadium tour of Australia and New Zealand.
Austria: First artist who played four stadium shows in one tour and one year
Latvia: Riga show with 50,437 sold tickets was the best ever attended international artist show in Latvia ever, as well as the highest-grossing.
Iceland: Most tickets sold at the biggest shows in Iceland’s history with one in seven of the population attending.
Portugal: Most amount of tickets sold in Portugal’s history by an international artist.
Spain: First and only artist who has sold out the three venues at the Anella Olímpica (Olympic Ring) in Barcelona one after the other – in straight succession.
Czech Republic: Best-selling international artist in the entire history of the Czech Republic with more than 142k tickets sold for his two Prague shows.
Finland: The Helsinki shows on 23 and 24 July 2019 in front of 108,000 fans were the largest concerts ever staged in Finland.