Ed Sheeran Sets Stadium Record Down Under

Ed Sheeran set a record in Australia and New Zealand for the number of stadium shows on one single tour.

Ed Sheeran
Greg Allen / Invision / AP
– Ed Sheeran
Global Citizen Festival, Great Lawn @ Central Park, New York City

An original seven dates increased to 14 by Frontier Touring after 710,000 tickets were snapped up on first-day sale May 23, equalling AC/DC’s 2010 record. By May 26, Sheeran’s tally totalled 18, with dates ranging from March 2 to April 1. The latest additions were a second show at  (March 2), a fourth at Melbourne  (March 9), and a third at , Sydney (March 15), and Dunedin’s  (April 1).

According to Frontier, the expected sellouts of the latest four dates (tickets hit the market June 1) will see Sheeran exceed Dire Straits’ long-standing record of an estimated 900,000 ticket sales from 1986’s Brothers In Arms tour.

Michael Gudinski, Melbourne-based head of Frontier Touring, said in a statement, “This is now not only the biggest tour Frontier has promoted, but it’s the biggest tour in Australian and New Zealand touring history!”

Asked to explain Sheeran’s phenomenal pulling power, Gudinski told the NZ Herald it was the care the act takes of his fans.

“He doesn’t talk down to people he just talks with people,” he said. Gudinski related an incident at a rain-lashed Sydney show when he told Sheeran he could delay his show by 20 minutes.

“He looked at me and said, ‘Look, I’ll wait five minutes but if my fans are out there going through that then I’m on stage going through it.'”

He went on to play in the rain.

Sheeran commented on his latest milestone Down Under, “I’ve always loved coming to Australia and New Zealand. So many amazing musicians have toured there and I am humbled to have broken these records.”

The last blockbusting tour was the debut visit by Adele earlier this year. According to Live Nation, she sold 600,000 in Australia and smashed attendance milestone for each venue, and a further 130,000 from three shows in New Zealand’s at Mt. Smart Stadium.

It’s not known how Sheeran’s tour will translate in economic impact terms.

But Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie estimated the three shows would pump NZ$50 million ($35.3 million) into the city’s economy.

To cope, Air New Zealand announced 35 extra flights into the city during the shows.

Enterprise Dunedin will work with the tourist and hospitality sectors to create a carnival-like atmosphere in the city.