2023 Mid-Year Business Analysis: Boxoffice Tallies Point To Banner Year


The numbers don’t lie, as the saying goes, and if there’s one undeniable truth in 2023, it’s that ticket sales at shows by some of the live industry’s top concert headliners are helping shape what will very likely be a record-setting year at the box office. With sales figures reported from the top 100 tours during the first six months of the year, almost every facet of the live entertainment experience reflects growth over the same period in 2022 and 2019, the two most recent complete years of live concert activity (excluding pandemic-affected 2020 and 2021).

Globally, the average gross, average number of tickets sold per show and average ticket price are all higher compared to both previous years, as is the total gross and total number of sold tickets. All five metrics show percentage increases compared to 2022 and 2019, according to box-office data reported to Pollstar.

The average gross per show reached a new high in the first two quarters of the year, soaring past $1 million for the first time based on ticket sales worldwide during the mid-year time frame (11/17/2022-5/17/2023). At $1,473,145, the 2023 gross average marks a whopping 64.7 percent increase over last year’s average that topped out at $894,597. That total, however, was less than the 2019 gross average of $915,095. Yet this year’s total surpasses the 2019 average by an impressive 61 percent.

The average number of sold tickets also jumps substantially in contrast to the ticket average for the top 100 tours in the two earlier years. Live events around the globe in 2023 averaged 12,655 sold seats per show, an increase of 49.3 percent compared to last year’s ticket average of 8,475. It is also a 27.8 percent hike over 2019’s average of 9,901 tickets per show.

The average ticket price follows a three-year growth pattern with consistent percentage increases from one year to the next. The average price in 2019 totaled $92.42 but rose to $105.55 in 2022, the first year it surpassed $100. This year’s average price also beats that mark and totals $116.41, 10.3 percent higher than the 2022 total and 26 percent more than the 2019 average.

The overall global box-office haul from the 100 highest-grossing tours during the past six months is a massive $2.83 billion. That’s a 51.1 percent increase compared to the same period just one year ago when overall grosses totaled $1.87 billion. It also marks a substantial 37.2 percent jump over 2019’s overall mid-year gross of $2.06 billion.

Growth is also the story with global ticket sales, as 2023’s attendance for the mid-year review shows an impressive jump compared to 2022. The 2023 total of 24,271,825 sold tickets is a 37 percent increase over the previous year’s total of 17,713,792. However, compared to 2019’s 22,278,187 mid-year attendance, it’s much closer in comparison but still an 8.9 percent increase.

Like the worldwide tallies, box-office activity in North America produced the same positive comparisons in all five box-office metrics. The gross average, sold-ticket average, ticket price average, overall gross and the number of sold tickets all rose in a year-to-year comparison to 2022. They also grew compared to the 2019 totals in all but one area: the overall number of tickets sold.

The gross average in North America, like the global average, tops the $1 million threshold for the first time, hitting $1,089,596 from shows in U.S., Canadian and Mexican venues. That tops the 2022 gross average by 27.3 percent and the 2019 figure by 58.2 percent. Likewise, the average number of sold seats per show totals 9,071 this year which beats last year’s ticket average by 14.6 percent and the 2019 average by 21 percent.

As it was in the worldwide box-office figures, the North American average ticket price also tops the $100 mark for a second consecutive year, totaling $120.11. That’s an 11 percent bump over last year’s average price of $108.20. The percentage increase is even higher compared to 2019’s average ticket price of $91.86. It surpasses that total by 30.8 percent.
The overall gross recorded at North American venues at the midpoint of 2023 is $1.96 billion which caps a three-year upward trajectory in the category. It tops the 2022 total gross of $1.69 billion by 16 percent and the 2019 total of $1.55 billion by a percentage of 26.6.

North America’s sold ticket tally this year hits 16.3 million which is a modest increase of 4.5 percent over the 2022 attendance of 15.6 million. The comparison to 2019, however, is the only instance of a decrease in these mid-year figures compared to a prior year. The overall sold tickets in North America totaled 16.9 million four years ago which is 3.2 percent higher than this year’s count.


Although multiple reasons contributed to these historic box-office sums and year-to-year increases almost across the board, the touring heavyweights who head up the slate of top 100 tours have certainly been a key component. Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band’s “2023 Tour,” Harry Styles’ “Love On Tour,” Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour” and Ed Sheeran’s “Mathematics Tour” rank Nos. 1 through 5 to head up the list of artists on the Mid-Year Top 100 Worldwide Tours chart.

All five of those touring giants racked up more than $100 million in sold-ticket revenue during the first half of 2023. It marks the first time that five tours have topped the $100M threshold at mid-year, although some recent years have seen as many as three. During the past two decades, though, there were usually no more than one or two artists – and occasionally, none – at that level.

Following the top five, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Daddy Yankee, Kevin Hart and Bad Bunny round out the top 10 grossers in the global tour rankings.

The top 100 tours in North America feature Swift and Springsteen again at Nos. 1 and 2 followed by Daddy Yankee, Luke Combs and Phish in the top five. Next in the rankings are Eagles, Rauw Alejandro, John Mayer, New Edition and Muse.

Among the top touring artists, Swift, Springsteen and Beyoncé are credited with estimated box-office totals since complete sales figures from their tours have not yet been reported.