Boxoffice Insider: Highlights Of Madonna’s Storied Live Career

Madonna "MDNA" Tour New York, NY
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 12: Madonna performs during the “MDNA” tour at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Amid her multifaceted career as a singer, actor, recording artist, businesswoman and prominent cultural icon during the past four decades, Madonna’s concert tours have always been instrumental in depicting her many reinventions as an artist. Her 12 headlining tours, from 1985 to 2024, have been a testament to her savviness and acumen in anticipating industry trends and solidified her as one of the most notable figures in American popular music.

Throughout the past 40 years, Madonna has maintained a relatively steady presence on the road with most of her tours beginning within a two-to-three-year period after she completed the previous trek. The only exception to that was an eight-year touring hiatus between 1993’s “The Girlie Show” and her “Drowned World Tour” in 2001.

Among her many accomplishments, the “Sticky & Sweet Tour” in 2008-2009 stands out as the highest-grossing tour of her longstanding live career. The overall gross from the 85-show run totaled $419 million in 2008-2009, a worldwide gross record for a female headliner that held firm until last year when Taylor Swift and Beyoncé both surpassed it as the two highest-grossing touring artists of 2023. Today, that gross is valued at about $610 million in 2024 dollars, making it the second highest ever for a woman on a single tour – landing behind Swift whose “Eras Tour” grossed over $1 billion last year alone and is still on the road in 2024.

Following “Sticky & Sweet” was “The MDNA Tour” which produced her second-highest collective gross for a multiple-show trek. In 86 performances in 2012, she racked up a $301 million box-office haul from 2.19 million tickets. Then, this year’s “The Celebration Tour,” follows with the third-best gross among her headlining tours. From 80 concerts between Oct. 14, 2023 and April 26, she took in $227.2 million from 1,128,657 sold tickets. Her free outdoor concert on May 4 on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach capped the tour with its record-setting attendance of 1.6 million, making it the best-attended show of her career and one of the highest of all time for any artist.

Among the ticketed events during her career, a four-show engagement at Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti in Buenos Aires, Argentina moved the most tickets with 263,693 sold Dec. 4-8, 2008 during her “Sticky & Sweet Tour.” Three other events on that same tour are also among her top five. Second best was a 196,656-ticket total from a three-show run, Dec. 18-21, 2008, at Morumbi Stadium in São Paulo, Brazil.

Then, third and fifth on the list are two-show stints at Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile with 146,242 tickets sold and Stade de France in Saint-Denis, France with 138,163 sold, both also occurring in 2008. But her fourth highest ticketed event came 15 years earlier during “The Girlie Show Tour.” With three shows in November 1993 at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, her sold-ticket count there was 141,943.

The slate of Top 25 Grosses during her career begins with an eight-show arena engagement at London’s SSE Arena, Wembley during her “Confessions Tour.” Madonna grossed just under $22 million there from 86,061 sold tickets, Aug. 1-16, 2006.

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