From 200 to 80,000 Fans In Germany: Ed Sheeran Ruled Europe

A picture is worth a thousand words
Kristian Sickinger
– A picture is worth a thousand words
Ed Sheeran playing in front of one of his biggest crowds yet at Hamburg

When sorting Pollstar‘s box office data by reports submitted from Europe focused charts data, as we’ve done in our inaugural Magna Charta, the top tour in Europe comes as no surprise. As he did worldwide, Ed Sheeran simply outsold the competition on his Divide tour in 2018.
Sheeran sold 4,860,482 tickets and grossed $432.3 million last year, and more than half of that was generated in Europe, where he sold 2,669,136 tickets and grossed $238.3 million.
In the process, he more than tripled Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s European ticket sales and almost tripled their European gross. 
One of Sheeran’s UK highlights: four massive mid-June nights promoted by Kilimanjaro Live/DHP Concerts at London’s Wembley Stadium before 299,000 fans that grossed $28.7 million, with prices ranging from £40-£80 (roughly $51-$103).
Sheeran’s manager, Stuart Camp of Grumpy Old Management, told Pollstar at the time that their live strategy has remained basically the same: “A great show put on at an affordable ticket price for Ed’s fans. The bottom line is that we have to make the experience special and we have to make everyone want to come back again.”
That attitude also shows in the limited VIP offerings available for Sheeran concerts. “Our adage has always been to be as democratic and fair as possible,” Camp said. “We do meet and greets, but they’re for disadvantaged kids or contest winners; we don’t sell them and similarly with VIP ticketing. Some kid who’s there and hasn’t got a job should have the same chances and the same access as anyone else.”
Ed Sheeran
– Ed Sheeran
with manager Stuart Camp
The largest concert of the European leg of Sheeran’s Divide tour took place at Trabrennbahn Bahrenfeld in Hamburg, Germany, where he played upwards of 80,326 fans — the biggest crowd of his career other than two 2015 shows in Dublin, Ireland, where he played to 81,104 each night.
FKP Scorpio promoted Sheeran’s European trek. “The huge crowds of fans that Ed Sheeran now attracts speak for themselves,” company MD Folkert Koopmans told Pollstar after the Hamburg show. “An artist who can capture a giant stadium all on his own, while creating such a relaxed and indeed magical atmosphere, demonstrates true art – and it was also very special for me, as his promoter.”
Koopmans recalled booking Ed Sheeran for FKP’s Rolling Stone Weekender festival in 2011: “It was his very first gig in Germany, in front of 200 people – and he still talks about it today!
“Seven years later, his tour is the largest that we, as his promoter, have organized in recent months – even bigger than the Rolling Stones. I am so happy for Ed Sheeran, who deserves every minute of his success, he is an exceptional artist!”
Unsurprisingly, the Divide tour won this year’s Pollstar Award in the coveted Major Tour of the Year category. Unfortunately, Sheeran couldn’t make the ceremony as he was – you guessed it – on tour.
He did thank the crowd via video message, though.
Louis Messina and Marty Diamond, Sheeran’s U.S. promoter and agent, respectively, picked up the award on Sheeran’s behalf. “He is a rockstar through and through,” said Diamond, “with a work ethic that, if you could
clone him, it’d be fucking scary. He is nonstop all the time.”
Diamond shared his favorite Ed Sheeran story with Pollstar earlier, but it’s worth reprinting:
“I remember being at his Miami show with my daughter and her favorite song on the record is ‘Supermarket Flowers.’ Ed’s met my wife and kids, he’s been around them.
“And because she’s that kid, she’s like, ‘Do you think I could sit and talk to Ed about the set?’ And I go in the dressing room, and I’m like, ‘Hey Ed, got a minute? My daughter wants to talk to you about the setlist.’ And he smiles and comes out and sits and talks to her.
“And then he adds the song into the set, not because of me – because of her. And he literally said, he goes, ‘I’m not quite sure where this fits in the scheme of things, but a friend of mine asked me if I could play ‘Supermarket Flowers’ tonight.’
“That’s a fucking mensch. You can’t buy that. That’s who this guy is.”
Ed & Marty
– Ed & Marty