Keith Birmingham / MediaNews Group / Pasadena Star-News / Getty Images – Mary J. Blige
performs during Super Bowl LVI ‘s halftime show at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Feb. 13, 2022.
Along with the NFL’s best, the biggest draws at the Super Bowl in Los Angeles were the hip-hop stars who took command on the field for the game’s halftime show. Social media outlets were ablaze in the wake of their performance, with many fans calling the production the greatest ever. But praise and plaudits are familiar for Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent – none a stranger to filling venues and entertaining fans from the concert stage.
With a multitude of past concerts stored in the box office archives, we’ll showcase a handful of the halftime performers’ career highlights, beginning with Blige, whose “Heart of the City” co-headlining tour with Jay-Z in spring 2008 was one of her most successful. The bill sold 303,967 tickets for a $34.2 million take (about $45 million today) across 26 shows, primarily at arenas.
One of Snoop Dogg’s biggest tours in the past decade was also a joint headlining trek, 2016’s “High Road Summer” with Wiz Khalifa, which played amphitheaters in July and August and was supported by openers including Jhené Aiko, who performed “America the Beautiful” at this year’s Super Bowl. With 32 shows reported, sold tickets numbered 427,019 for a $10.7 million haul, averaging 13,344 tickets and $332,816 grossed per night.
Dr. Dre was earliest to the scene as a performer among the halftime artists, with his biggest tour on record occurring in 2000. Snoop joined him as co-headliner of the “Up in Smoke Tour,” which also included fellow halftime performer and Dre protégé Eminem, along with a host of other hip-hop stars. The 44-show trek – one of the genre’s earliest multi-artist touring efforts – drew more than a half-million fans with about 82% of the available tickets sold and 17 sold-out shows during the run. The tour’s total gross hit $22.1 million (about $36 million now).
After “Up in Smoke,” Eminem helped create and launch the first “Anger Management Tour” in fall 2000 and again in summer 2002, summer 2003 and later in 2005 with 50 Cent. Altogether, the tours averaged $700,381 grossed and 15,335 tickets sold per show. However, Eminem’s highest grosses were logged at three co-headlining two-night stadium runs with Rihanna in August 2014 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.; MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.; and Detroit’s Comerica Park. The top gross was $13.1 million from the Rose Bowl shows, which took place Aug. 7-8.
Kendrick Lamar scored heavy box office results in 2017 and 2018 on two tours. The first was the “Damn Tour,” which grossed $72 million from 60 reported shows and a ticket count of 802,978. The 13-time Grammy winner then topped the lineup for Top Dawg Entertainment’s “The Championship Tour,” which averaged $1.04 million and 15,074 sold seats per show.