Vertigo tour kicks off March 28 in San Diego.

U2 will kick off its 2005 world tour March 28 at the San Diego Sports Arena, Billboard can exclusively reveal. Kings Of Leon will open the first leg of the trek, tickets for which will begin going on sale on Jan. 29. The tour, named Vertigo after the first single from U2's new Interscope album, "How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," will be officially announced Monday (Jan. 24).

"One of the great privileges of working with U2 is you get to go on the road with them," longtime manager Paul McGuinness tells Billboard. "We are, I suppose, that rarest of things: a major touring attraction that is still having No. 1 records all over the world after 25 years."

Even though its kick-off is still two months away, Vertigo will likely be the top-grossing trek of 2005. Conservative estimates put the tour's gross potential at $225-$250 million from as many as 110 shows.

The first North American leg will run for two months and wrap in Boston in late May. Afterward, the tour will hit some 30 European stadiums, beginning June 10 in Brussels. The band will stay in Europe through mid-August, then return to North America for another run of 30 arena dates.

Ticket prices will average $90, including $49.50 on the low end and $165 on the high end. On the 2001 Elevation tour in support of the album "All That You Can't Leave Behind," the range was $45-$135.

As on that trek, the arena floor will be general admission for about 1,700-1,800 seats, depending on the building. And, like Elevation, the tour will feature unique production elements.

"This tour will be not unlike the last production in that the lowest priced tickets will be on the floor," says McGuinness. "The best seats are the cheapest, and we want people to get excited." He adds that details on distribution of floor tickets will be forthcoming. "Some will be on sale, some will be radio contest winners," McGuinness says.

It is possible some shows will be available as digital downloads. "We're exploring technology where it might be possible to download the show you've just seen," says McGuinness. "We've been talking to iTunes and the folks at Apple, with whom we have a great relationship, but it's not quite there yet. We're certainly looking at it."

A tour DVD is also likely. "We always do that," McGuinness says, "but that will come towards the latter end of the tour."

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