How Luis Miguel Got His Mojo Back, Delivering the Biggest Latin Tour in Boxscore History

Omar Cruz
Luis Miguel

The Mexican Sun Rises Again

The past few years have not been kind to Luis Miguel. The Mexican crooner, once widely recognized as Latin music's biggest star and one of the top vocalists of his generation, had canceled shows at the last minute, backed out of a proposed tour with Alejandro Fernandez and in May 2017 was arrested in Los Angeles in a case involving a dispute with his former manager.

Now, El Sol de México -- "The Mexican Sun," as he is known -- is once again rising.

The 48-year-old singer's México Por Siempre Tour ends 2018 as Billboard Boxscore's highest-grossing Latin tour since the chart launched in 1990, generating $64.9 million from 613,000 tickets. Now, the singer is poised to kick off his South American tour Feb. 19 with four dates at Santiago de Chile's Movistar Arena, which all sold out in a single day.

"I wish I could tell you there was a magic formula," says Alejandro Soberón, founder/chairman/CEO of Miguel's promoter Ocesa-CIE. "He took this on with a huge desire to reclaim the place that belongs to him. All we did was maximize every possibility for him to be seen in a bigger market."

Other factors in Miguel's success: a TV show based on the reclusive star's life, and his first LP since 2014, ¡México Por Siempre!, which won album of the year at the Latin Grammy Awards in November.

The 2017 miniseries Luis Miguel, La Serie, produced by MGM and Gato Grande, aired on Telemundo and Netflix and was the creation of Mexican businessman and Gato Grande co-founder Miguel Alemán. Then, after speaking with Soberón -- whose Ocesa-CIE was the fourth-highest-grossing concert promoter in 2018, according to Billboard Boxscore -- Miguel signed a five-year global management deal that placed the entirety of the tour under a single umbrella. His longtime agency WME engaged Live Nation for the whole run.

"We never had a partner like that across all the dates," says WME partner Keith Sarkisian. "Live Nation did a more organized promotional push across all markets. I keep telling people [Luis Miguel] has always been big, but he's just bigger now."

Sellouts begat additional dates, even before the series aired. But the show did have an impact -- so much so, says Soberón, that in Mexico, 42 percent of ticket buyers had never seen Luis Miguel perform.

"That's where you see the result of all the work done with his album, the series, plus the promotion. We had a 360 system in place, and it generated an amazing additional base of new fans," says Soberón. "He's a profoundly talented man who went through a complicated time, and he came back."

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 15 issue of Billboard.


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