Pollstar Unveils Top 20 Worldwide Tours Of 2017, Sets Record Gross

U2 Trafalgar Square EMAs
Vianney Le Caer / Invision / AP
– U2 Trafalgar Square EMAs
U2 performs in Trafalgar Square ahead of the MTV Europe Music Awards Nov. 11.

We are fast approaching the end of 2017 and while Pollstar’s BoxOffice department furiously enters data for our Year End charts, we thought we’d share the Top 20 Tours of the year as a preview of the Worldwide Top Tours Chart.

On the whole, the Top 20 grossed $2.64 billion this year, a record high and increase of more than $241 million from 2016.

Coming in at the top slot is U2, which grossed a gargantuan $316 million with its “Joshua Tree Tour”, reporting a total 2.71 million tickets.

Right behind U2 was Guns N’ Roses with $292.5 million grossed and 2.68 million tickets sold. The tickets sold figure is clearly close, meaning much of the more than $20 million differential in grosses involved pricing, with U2 charging more than $40 above GNR on average.

Coldplay came in third with $238 million grossed, and Bruno Mars is the first solo artist on the touring chart, with $200.1 million total gross on the year, fourth overall.

The list is mostly comprised of artists that fit into the “Pop/Rock” categorization in Pollstar’s online routebook, though entries in that genre can range from Metallica to Justin Bieber.  

The first country artist to appear on the list is Garth Brooks at No. 10, who in 2017 wrapped up what his reps are calling the largest tour by a solo artist ever, at three years with eight legs. His total gross on the year was estimated at $101.4 million, and though we would love to get exact numbers regarding his business, he is one the only artist on this Top 20 chart that does not regularly report touring data to Pollstar.

Celine Dion was the first female artist to chart in this year’s Top 20, at the No. 11 slot, and she got there with a mix of arena touring and a Las Vegas residency at The Colosseum At Caesars Palace. Although Queen Celine still technically has two dates to perform Dec. 30-31 through that residency, we factored that in with estimates, and she thus still falls just behind Garth, with a gross of $101.2 million.

While the Top 20 is mostly made up of established artists, No. 8 Ed Sheeran (26), No. 12 Justin Bieber (23), No. 17 The Weeknd (27) and No. 20 Ariana Grande (24) are the youngest artists to crack the top 20.

The married couple of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill is the only act in this Top 20 to integrate male and female artists in the headline act. The duo grossed $79.3 million on their first “Soul2Soul” in years. They played 79 shows this year, not counting two nights at “Carnival Live” and reported 931,951 tickets.

The full preview chart is available for viewing here, and the complete data package including the Worldwide Top 100 Tours chart will be released to subscribers Jan. 5. 

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story included Bruce Springsteen at the No. 14 position on the Top 20 Tours chart. Springsteen will be appearing twice on the full Worldwide Top 100 Tours Chart being released Jan. 5, as his performances with The E Street Band and his shows on Broadway are being categorized as separate entries. The figures associated with Springsteen on the previous version of the Top 20 chart were inaccurate and should not be referenced. Bruce Springsteen has been removed from the chart and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers has been added at the No. 20 position.