Boxoffice Insider: A Closer Look, Bad Bunny & Ed Sheeran By The Numbers

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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – SEPTEMBER 04: Bad Bunny performs onstage during 2022 Made In America at Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 04, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Roc Nation)

In 2022 Bad Bunny and Ed Sheeran both ranked in the top three (along with Elton John) on the Top 200 Worldwide Tours chart – Bad Bunny at No. 1 with a gross of $393.4 million and Sheeran third with $251.3 million. But both have the distinction of being the best of the year in one of the chart’s two quantifying metrics: gross and sold tickets.

Grosses from Bad Bunny’s concerts worldwide were the highest recorded during the Pollstar chart year that spanned from Nov. 18, 2021, through Nov. 16, 2022. Sheeran, on the other hand, racked up the largest number of tickets sold by a headliner during the same timeframe.

Both saw career highs established in 2022 with box-office averages per show showing increases in comparison to averages from their concerts in previous years. For Bad Bunny, the contrast was far more dramatic considering his gross average before 2022 was just over $769,000 per show. It catapulted in 2022 to $5.39 million – a jaw-dropping 601% increase – based on box-office results from both stadium and arena concerts that featured an average ticket price of $188.15 – the second highest in 2022 behind Paul McCartney’s $248.02.

Sheeran also saw an increase in his per-show gross average in 2022 – about 95%, and that’s not a surprise since his “Mathematics” tour in Europe last summer was his first to be booked solely in stadiums. Prior to last year, he played both arenas and stadiums on his most recent tours: the “Multiply” trek (2014-2015) and his record-smashing “Divide” tour (2017-2019) that currently holds the title of highest-grossing tour of all time with $776 million.

Sheeran is also the current record holder for the highest gross reported during one chart year. In 2018, the second year of the “Divide” tour, he topped the year-end charts with $432.4 million. No other act has ever ranked at year-end with over $400 million in grosses. Bad Bunny came the closest in 2022 with his $393.4 million gross, the second highest ever at year-end, while U2 joins them as the only other headliner to surpass $300 million in one chart year. And U2 did it twice: first in 2009 with $311 million in sales and again in 2017 with $316 million.

Adding a twist to last year’s box-office results, Bad Bunny had 12 additional shows on his stadium tour that occurred after the Nov. 16 cut-off date for our 2022 chart year. Ticket sales from those shows were enough to bump his gross – using a 2022 calendar-year timeframe – $3 million higher than Sheeran’s total in 2018 when his overall gross was $432.4 million no matter how you figured it – by our official chart-year period or a January-through-December timespan.

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COVENTRY, ENGLAND – MAY 28: Ed Sheeran performs on stage during Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2022 at War Memorial Park on May 28, 2022 in Coventry, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Regarding the number of sold tickets recorded in the year-end tallies, Sheeran’s industry-best 2022 ticket total of 3,047,694 ranks as the fourth highest for a concert headliner in a single chart year since 2000. Coincidentally, the largest one-year ticket count also belongs to Sheeran. He set the bar high in 2018 by moving 4.86 million tickets. He remains the only artist to pass the 4-million mark in attendance for one year.

Following Sheeran is One Direction with the second-highest ticket count of 3.44 million in 2014. Then, U2 is next with 3.07 million tickets sold in 2009.

Sheeran also had the highest attendance in 2019, selling 2.46 million tickets, the only total over 2 million that year. But the archives show that six other headliners since 2000 logged a single-year ticket total higher than Sheeran’s 2019 count. Taylor Swift sold 2.89 million in 2018, while U2 is again in the mix with a 2.71 million total in 2017. 

Others are Guns N’ Roses (2.68 million in 2017), Coldplay (2.68 million in 2016 and 2.46 million in 2017), Bon Jovi (2.66 million in 2013) and AC/DC (2.65 million in 2009)