Since launching in Turin, Italy, on March 16, 2017, Ed Sheeran has taken The Divide Tour around the world and back with 246 shows across Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and North and South America. As Billboard projected in December 2018 and again in May, Sheeran has broken the record for the highest-grossing tour of all time. The trek has grossed $737.9 million and sold 8,503,496 tickets according to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore.
It was Sheeran’s Aug. 2, 2019, concert in Odense, Denmark, that pushed The Divide Tour over the edge, with a one-night gross of $6,862,620.
The record has been the property of U2 since 2011, when the 360° Tour (2009-11) wrapped with a total gross of $736.4 million. When the Irishmen broke The Rolling Stones’ record (A Bigger Bang Tour; $558 million; 2005-07) in April 2011, they were accompanied in the top five by AC/DC’s Black Ice Tour ($441 million; 2008-10), Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet Tour ($408 million; 2008-09) and U2’s own Vertigo Tour ($389 million; 2005-06). Since then, Sheeran has disrupted the elite group, alongside Guns N’ Roses with the Not in this Lifetime Tour ($529.6 million; ongoing) and Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams Tour ($523.3 million; 2016-2017).
Sheeran is managed by Stuart Camp and represented by Marty Diamond with Paradigm in North America, and internationally by CAA’s John Ollier. Sheeran works with a coalition of promoters on his global tours, including Messina Touring Group founder Louis Messina in North America; Frontier Touring and Michael Gudinski in Australia; and Kilimanjaro’s Stuart Galbraith in Europe; along with Simon Jones at AEG and promoter firms DHP and FKP Scorpio.
The Divide Tour previously passed Roger Waters‘ The Wall Live Tour ($459 million; 2010-13) to become the highest-grossing tour by a solo artist when his Aug. 11-12, 2018, shows at the PGE Narodowy in Warsaw, Poland, grossed $7.3 million, sending the tour’s to-date gross to $460.6 million.
Sheeran’s tour has been in support of his third LP Divide. The set was released March 3, 2017, and arrived atop the Billboard 200 on the chart dated March 25, 2017. Divide claimed a second consecutive week at No. 1 and went on to net 53 weeks in the top 10 and 125 weeks on the chart (as of the Aug. 3, 2019, tally). It sent two singles to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100: “Shape of You” for 12 weeks and “Perfect” for six. Sheeran was named Billboard’s Top Artist of 2017, while “Shape of You” was the year’s top Hot 100 song.
The Divide Tour has nine dates left to play and will finish on Aug. 26 in Chantry Park in Ipswich, England, with a projected gross of $770-775 million. Billboard will have more reporting to come on this record-breaking tour.