Move over Bono and U2 — you have been dethroned. In fact, so has everyone else who ever toured the planet.
According to The Guardian, Ed Sheeran’s Divide Tour has been named the highest-grossing tour of all time, breaking a U2 record that had stood for eight years.
So far it has grossed an imposing US$736 million, breaking U2’s record of US$735 million, with 12 dates still left to play.
The Divide tour began in March 2017 on the success of the chart topping album of the same name and will have encompassed 255 shows when it finishes in Ipswich later this month.
It has also been named the most attended tour of all time: when it finishes, more than 8.5 million people across 43 countries will have seen Sheeran perform, breaking U2’s record of 7.3 million.
“I just found out the Divide Tour is set to be the highest-grossing tour of all time — this is amazing,” Sheeran said in a statement. “I feel very lucky to have experienced all of the wonderful countries and crowds over the past two and a half years. Thank you to the fans and everyone who made it possible.”
Sheeran’s manager Stuart Camp told Pollstar, who collected the tour data: “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.”
U2’s record was set in 2011 by their 110-date 360° tour. Rather than focusing on stadiums as U2 did, Sheeran has included more intimate arenas – his average concert attendance is 34,541, around half U2’s 66,091 average.
He also rejected VIP areas and sold tickets at a relatively low price (US$86.75 on average), 14.2% lower on average than U2’s, but the sheer number of dates has ensured the record was broken nonetheless.
Sheeran found time to record a new album during the tour, No 6 Collaborations Project, featuring all-star collaborations with the likes of Cardi B, Bruno Mars, Stormzy, Eminem and Justin Bieber, the Guardian report said.
It was released on 12 July and is currently No 1 in the UK and US, while two of its singles, I Don’t Care and Beautiful People, have topped the UK singles chart.
“In all my years covering the business, it’s amazing to see an artist like Sheeran, at the age of 28, create a new touring paradigm and achieve a touring record that may not be broken in this lifetime,” said Ray Waddell, president of OVG’s Media & Conferences, Pollstar’s parent firm. “And he still has a lot more to do.”