Madonna Justifies Your Love in 2008

The numbers are crunched and Pollstar’s boxoffice elves are now off enjoying a well-earned bacchanal after declaring that Madonna tore up the North American road like no other in 2008 with $105.3 million in ticket sales on her Sticky & Sweet tour.

Photo: AP Photo
Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.

Celine Dion could only wave into Madge’s rearview mirror from second place with $94 million in ducats sold. Eagles are No. 3 with $73.4 million and Kenny Chesney fourth with $72.2 million. Bon Jovi, fifth at $70.4 million, started its highly successful tour in 2007 and those numbers were reported at the end of that year.

Rounding out the North American touring Top 10 are Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, $69.3 million; Neil Diamond, $59.8 million; Rascal Flatts, $55.8 million; The Police, $48 million and Tina Turner, $47.7 million.

Photo: Duane Fernandez
BOK Center, Tulsa, Okla.

The numbers may not be the biggest ever – The Police rang up $133.2 million last year, and neither tour approaches The Rolling Stones’ record of $162 million in 2005 – but Madonna’s numbers are more than respectable given the state of the economy and ticket prices to match her lofty status.

The numbers also give the powers that be at tour promoter Live Nation something to smile about. It’s a material world, and Live Nation is well on its way to recouping the cost of its 360 deal with the Material Girl. The company’s 10-year deal gives Live Nation comprehensive rights to her tours, recordings, merchandise and pretty much anything else she does commercially.

Celine Dion is no stranger to Pollstar’s Top 10 either – the Canadian warbler was No. 4 last year. However, in 2008 she moves up two spots for a tour that actually travels, rather than for her lengthy residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace that ran from 2003 through December 2007.

Photo: Chris Ryan
Rose Garden Arena, Portland, Oregon.

Eagles proved that a “rebranding” doesn’t have to hurt ticket sales. Don Henley, Glenn Frey and company released Long Road Out of Eden exclusively through Walmart last year and made the rounds of Country Music Television and several awards shows in 2008, and didn’t miss a step – or a ticket sales opportunity.

Photo: Duane Fernandez
BOK Center, Tulsa, Okla.

Kenny Chesney is nothing if not consistent, ending the year with the fourth-highest grossing tour for the second year in a row. The Jimmy Buffett of Country Music is living up to his friend’s history at the turnstile, filling sheds and stadiums and bringing a popular party vibe with him.

And Bon Jovi carried over its 2007 touring success long into 2008 for its No. 5 finish. The tour launched in Puerto Rico in June, good enough for a No. 48 finish for the year before picking back up in 2008 and running strong through its July 14-15 blowout wrap party at New York’s Madison Square Garden.