The Police tour that no one thought would ever happen came through in magnificent fashion, easily finishing as the top-grossing tour of 2007 at more than $236 million, according to Billboard Boxscore. The band’s shows drew more than 2.1 million fans last year, and the tour was overwhelmingly the primary driver on a No. 1 Money Makers ranking of $207,848,465.35. A conservative estimate of tour merchandise revenue, the lion’s share of which goes to the band, is in the $40 million range.
Organizers knew they had a winner on their hands with a Police reunion tour, but even they were pleasantly surprised by the reception. “It’s a bit of a cliché to say the tour surpassed every expectation,” says Bill Zysblat, partner in RZO Productions, co-producer of the tour with Arthur Fogel and TNA International. “However, if ever a tour has, this one did.”
The tour was not only the highest-grossing trek of 2007, it may have been the best-orchestrated, from the trio’s much-hyped Grammy Award appearance to the live-performance webcast press conference that followed, to a well-conceived global route that included arenas, stadiums, vintage ballparks and key festivals like Bonnaroo. Much strategizing went into a challenging routing that necessitated several options in most every region, with demand dictating the size of the venue.
Considering the exclusive nature of the tour and that demand had been building for more than two decades, the band was actually conservative on ticket pricing, rarely topping $250. The Police’s top-grossing stop was two sellouts at London’s Twickenham Stadium last September that grossed $15.4 million.
“Gauging demand [and] venue selection and setting ticket prices are, of course, the foundation of a tour,” Fogel says. “In the case of the Police it was somewhat more challenging, given the length of time since the band had been away. I don’t think there is any doubt given the results that the strategy and execution lined up as well as one could hope.”
In retrospect, 2007 may have been the perfect year for the band to take its victory lap, even as the tour rolls on around the globe in 2008. The previous year was relatively crowded with megatours, with U2, the Rolling Stones and Madonna all generating headlines and box office. And while there has been no announcement, even the chance there could be a Led Zeppelin reunion tour is attracting all the attention this year.
But as a marquee rock attraction in 2007, the band was virtually unchallenged. Interest in the tour also no doubt spurred album sales: The Police sold 677,000 units in the United States alone in 2007, 332,000 of which came from a self-titled, double-disc best-of via Universal Music Enterprises.
The Police will also surely appear on next year’s Money Makers list, as the act has dates on the books extending into the summer. At press time it was playing sold-out stadiums in Australia, the band’s first appearance Down Under since 1984.
Click here to read the full list of top 20 artists earners of 2007, which is flush with marquee names, reunion tours and kiddie TV stars.