On Aug. 2, Ed Sheeran's ÷ (Divide) tour became the top-grossing trek of all time, according to Billboard Boxscore. After over two years and 246 performances -- with nine left to go -- Sheeran has taken in $737.9 million, surpassing U2's 2011 record of $736.4 million.
At the time, U2 was a touring juggernaut that had released 12 albums over three decades -- and it took the record from The Rolling Stones. How did Sheeran -- a 28-year-old solo artist with three albums and just one previous arena tour -- do it?
"A combination of math and marketing strategies," according to Patrick Ryan, co-founder of leading ticketing company Eventellect. "No artist has ever played in front of that many seats during one consecutive tour. So it was a matter of filling them." U2 sold a reported 7,272,046 tickets for 110 shows, while Sheeran sold 8,503,496 for more than twice as many concerts.