K-Pop by The Numbers: More Than Just BTS With Global Boxoffice Success
K-pop is currently in the headlines following attempts to acquire a stake in South Korea’s SM Entertainment by various entities including industry heavyweight and rival HYBE, the entertainment company behind the musical sensation BTS. While the success of that award-winning boy band has meant unparalleled international exposure for the genre, the Pollstar Boxoffice charts have featured multiple touring acts associated with both companies in recent years, including several top performers in just the past year alone.
While BTS is now on hiatus since their last appearance on the charts in April 2022, more recent box office figures have been reported for other K-pop acts – among them, the 13-member boy band Seventeen. The group was on the road in 2022 with their HYBE-promoted “Be the Sun” tour which racked up more than $58 million at the box office.It was the 36th highest gross worldwide for a headlining act from January through December last year. With 29 shows reported in North American and Asian countries, over a half- million tickets were sold, averaging 18,692 per concert and an average gross just over $2 million.
The tour opened with a two-night hometown engagement at Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome on June 25-26 and grossed $3.7 million with a total of 34,923 seats sold. After a six-week break, it resumed in Canada on Aug. 10 with a performance at Rogers Arena in Vancouver to kick off a month-long stretch of North American dates. Fans in the Los Angeles market gave Seventeen their highest gross with ticket revenue topping $1.79 million for a sold-out performance on Aug. 17, yet the largest crowd was recorded at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena with a Sept. 3 sellout that moved 13,763 tickets.
A series of 15 concerts at nine venues in Asian countries followed in the fall with grosses accounting for $39 million of Seventeen’s overall box office haul from the tour. With a ticket count totaling 379,612 in Asia, the Tokyo Dome produced the top individual venue numbers with 93,063 tickets sold for two concerts, Nov. 26-27, and a $7.6 million take.
HYBE also produced the 2022 tour by ENHYPEN, a seven-member South Korean boy band formed in 2020 through a reality competition television show. Last year the group’s first world tour, named “Manifesto,” began in mid-September with a two-night stint at Seoul’s Olympic Handball Gymnasium. Then, a string of seven shows at U.S. venues followed beginning with two nights at Honda Center in Anaheim, California, Oct. 2-3. The brief trek stateside grossed $7.5 million from 56,043 sold tickets and closed with an Oct. 15 performance at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
Next, the group returned to Asia for a 13-show stretch beginning in Nagoya, Japan, on Nov. 1 and continuing through Feb. 3-5, ending with three nights at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines. Grosses for the Asian leg hit $17.4 million with a ticket count from four venues in Japan, one in Thailand and the Philippine finale totaling 183,963.
TOMORROW X TOGETHER followed a similar touring structure as the other two HYBE acts in 2022 with an opening performance booked in Seoul followed by a North American leg and a final sweep through cities in Asia. The five-member boy band, formed in 2019, played their 2022 opener at Seoul’s Jamsil Arena to sellout crowds on two nights, July 2-3, before selling out summer concerts in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Then, with an additional nine shows at venues in Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines in the fall, the group’s “Act: Lovesick” tour grossed $14.2 million overall from 110,598 tickets at 19 performances.
SM Entertainment’s NCT 127 has the most recent dates reported among the South Korean boy bands with a “Neo City-The Link” tour performance on Jan. 28 at Mexico City’s Palacio de los Deportes. The show drew 15,979 fans for a $1.9 million box office gross. Sales figures from another 2023 show by the nine-member group were also reported at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena on Jan. 13, with a 10,101 headcount and a $1.3 million gross.