Ed Sheeran Leads February Boxscore Report With $50 Million Gross
Plus, Red Hot Chili Peppers double up in the top 10.
While conditions slowly inch toward spring temperatures in the Western hemisphere, Oceania continues its stronghold over Billboard’s Boxscore charts as open-air stadium shows in Australia and New Zealand continue to deliver blockbuster numbers. After Elton John led in January, Ed Sheeran picks up the mantle with the highest grossing tour of February. According to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore, The Mathematics Tour grossed $50.6 million and sold 475,000 tickets throughout the short month.
Sheeran played three shows in New Zealand (one in Wellington and two in Auckland) and five in Australia (three in Brisbane and two in Sydney). The quintet of Australian shows drove much of his February business, earning more than $7 million per show, compared to about $4 million per night in New Zealand.
The Brisbane and Sydney runs earn Sheeran the top two positions on Top Boxscores, with a $19.2 million haul at Suncorp Stadium on Feb. 17-19, and a $18.9 million run at Accor Stadium on Feb. 24-25.
Sheeran’s three-night stint at Suncorp Stadium isn’t just the biggest of the month, it’s the biggest reported boxscore in the venue’s history. The February shows pass U2 for the biggest gross, ($19.2 million for Sheeran; $11 million for U2 on Dec. 8-9, 2010) and himself for the biggest attendance.
Sheeran sold 173,000 tickets over three shows last month, eclipsing the 104,000 tickets in two shows in March 2018. Even taking an average per-night attendance, forgetting the fact that he had the horsepower to sell three stadium shows in Brisbane this time around, his 57,661 pace improves upon 2018’s 51,872.
The Divide Tour, Sheeran’s record-setting 2017-19 tour, played 18 shows in Oceania, all between March 2-April 1, 2018. Those earned a combined $82.6 million and sold just over 1 million tickets. With four Australian shows left to be reported, his regional run on the Mathematics Tour would need to average $8 million per show. That’s a tall order considering the February dates balanced out at $6.3 million, but the major market shows in Melbourne could help push him closer.
February marks Sheeran’s third month at No. 1, following June 2022 and April 2019. He matches The Rolling Stones and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, while trailing Bad Bunny (four) and Sir Elton John (seven). Those five acts have led Top Tours for 20 of the 32 monthly recaps since launching in February 2019. The other nine spread between BTS, P!nk and Post Malone with two apiece, plus Backstreet Boys, Coldplay, Grupo Firme, Paul McCartney, Spice Girls and Tool.
Not only does Sheeran follow John on Top Tours and at Nos. 1-2 on Top Boxscores, the Oceania sweep continues with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Post Malone. Their co-headline run in Australia and New Zealand logs its second consecutive month at No. 2 on Top Tours with multiple top 10 placements on Top Boxscores.
The dynamic duo played five continental shows in February, spread between Sydney’s Accor Stadium (two shows), Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium (two) and Perth’s Optus Stadium (one). The Sydney and Melbourne engagements rank Nos. 4-5 on Top Boxscores, with Perth closely following at No. 7.
The Chili Peppers set a new kind of record of their own. Not only are the pop-funk-rockers at No. 2 on Top Tours, but follow at No. 6, unaccompanied by a co-headliner. The band played three dates on its own in Asia that grossed $12.1 million.
Though it’s rare for an act to chart twice in the same tracking period, it’s not completely unprecedented. On the 2018 year-end charts, Jay-Z was No. 3 alongside Beyonce for the On the Run II Tour, and at No. 25 for his solo headline dates.
Two shows from Sheeran and another two from the Chili Peppers & Post combine to $32.4 million at Accor Stadium, enough to be the top-grossing venue of the month. With Suncorp Stadium at No. 2 and Marvel Stadium at No. 4, among venues with capacity of 15,001 or more, it is another consecutive win for Australia. Suncorp was No. 1 last month, with Sydney’s other marquee stadium, Allianz Stadium, at No. 2.
On the other side of the spectrum, geographically and in terms of size, Las Vegas headlines the 10,000-and-under range, with Dolby Live at No. 1 among venues 5,001-10k, and Resorts World Theatre among venues 5,000 or less. The former is lifted by residency shows from Bruno Mars and the Jonas Brothers and the latter by Luke Bryan and Katy Perry.
Mexico City’s Electric Daisy Carnival is No. 3 on Top Boxscores, with a three-day haul of $16.4 million. The EDM festival returned to Autodromo Hermanos Rodrigues from Feb. 24-26, playing host to 269,000 fans. A year further removed from COVID woes, its 2023 earnings are up 73% from last year’s $9.5 million, even improving upon pre-pandemic runs in 2020 ($12.2 million) and 2019 ($10.5 million).
It’s the second biggest festival gross in the entire franchise, trailing only a previous Orlando edition that earned $17.1 million at Camping World Stadium from Nov. 8-10, 2019.