Stadium Rockers: 21st Century Gross Averages From Top Artists

Rolling Stones
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– Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones, pictured Nov. 15 at Ford Field in Detroit, have yet again proven they’re in a league of their own, grossing an average of $10.3 million per show during their in-progress “No Filter” tour.

The Rolling Stones, with a second consecutive appearance at No. 1 on LIVE75 in this week’s issue, became the only act to ever top $10 million in gross averages on our weekly chart ranking the top 75 active tours during the past month. The band averaged $10.3 million at six recent stadium performances on its “No Filter Tour.”

Scoring well in a ranking of concert grosses is familiar territory for the group, according to reported ticket sales data in the archives. Among the 10 highest-grossing rock acts since the beginning of 2000, the artist with the top gross average at shows set in stadiums or stadium-sized concert sites is, again, The Rolling Stones.
From Jan. 1, 2000, through mid-November of this year, the Stones’ average gross at stadium events totals $7.11 million based on 173 concerts reported during that almost 22-year period. The group’s sold-ticket average reached 51,649 per performance. U2 is not far behind, holding the second-highest gross average of $6.03 million, but the average number of tickets sold per show is the most among the top 10 rock acts: a 61,074 ticket average at 227 stadium shows.
For both bands, stadiums have accounted for a significant portion of their overall number of shows performed in any type of concert venue – close to half of them, as a matter of fact. The Stones’ stadium dates comprise about 58% of their total concerts since 2000, while U2’s shows in stadiums are just 9% less than half of all venues played.
As the only rocker with an average in the $5 million range ($4.96 million), Paul McCartney has 99 shows recorded at stadiums, 10 of them during his most recent “Freshen Up” tour in 2018-2019. Prior to that, his “One on One” tour (2016-2017) featured 21 stadium dates set in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
Also with gross averages topping $4 million are AC/DC ($4.65), Billy Joel ($4.61), Coldplay ($4.58), Fleetwood Mac ($4.33), Guns N’ Roses ($4.05) and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street ($4.03). Bon Jovi rounds out the top 10 rock acts based on gross averages with $3.75 million.
Among all 10, Springsteen has the highest individual stadium gross with a massive run of 10 sellouts during his “The Rising Tour” at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Between July 15 and Aug. 31, 2003, the Boss’ combined take was $38.68 million from 566,560 sold tickets, according to reports submitted to Pollstar’s Boxoffice.
U2 follows with a $32.84 million gross from 278,718 tickets at four sellouts Oct. 19-25, 2017, at São Paulo’s Estádio Cícero Pompeu de Toledo on “The Joshua Tree Tour 2017.” For Coldplay, London’s Wembley Stadium hosted the top grosser with $29.72 million earned from 303,985 tickets. The band sold out four shows, June 15-19, 2016, during its “A Head Full of Dreams Tour.”
The Stones’ highest individual stadium gross was $27.95 million on the “14 On Fire” tour with 147,493 sold seats on three nights at the Tokyo Dome, Feb. 26-March 6, 2014. AC/DC follows with its $25.67 million take from 213,045 tickets at Sydney’s Stadium Australia for three nights, Feb. 18-22, 2010, during the “Black Ice World Tour.” McCartney’s highest gross on record was also recorded at the Tokyo Dome, a three-show stand on the “Out There” tour, Nov. 18-21, 2013, with $23.94 million in sales from 146,845 tickets.
Bon Jovi logged a $21.39 million gross at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., May 26-July 9, 2010, from four sellouts attended by 206,099 fans. Guns N’ Roses’ top grosser was a two-night sold out event June 16-17, 2017, at London Stadium that earned $17.3 million from 139,267 tickets.
Fleetwood Mac also recorded its top gross in London, but at Wembley Stadium, June 16 and 18, 2019, with $17.16 million from 108,469 tickets. Billy Joel’s highest was his “Last Play at Shea” event, July 16-18, 2008, at New York’s now-demolished Shea Stadium, which closed that fall. His two sellouts grossed $12.86 million with 117,742 seats sold.