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The O2 retains crown as world’s busiest venue in 2018

With more than 2m tickets sold, the Greenwich venue celebrated its 11th year as the world's top arena by ticket sales in 2018

By Jon Chapple on 02 Jan 2019

The O2, as viewed from the Emirates Air Line

The O2, as viewed from the Emirates Air Line

The O2 in London cemented its status as the world’s most successful concert venue in 2018, according to operator AEG Europe, reporting in excess of 800,000 more ticket sales than its closest rival.

More than two million tickets were sold for 209 music, comedy, live entertainment and sports events at the venue last year, with highlights including sell-out shows by Kendrick Lamar and Pearl Jam, the sixth edition of the Country to Country festival, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Fight Night 127, the ATP tennis finals and the Fifa eWorld Cup Final.

Elsewhere, Michael McIntyre marked 2018 by selling the most tickets in O2 history, reaching 409,238 with his 28th headline show at the arena, while K-pop stars BTS, who played in October, smashed a merchandise sales record previously held by the Rolling Stones.

The 2m figure compares to nearly 1.2m tickets sold for events at the O2’s nearest rival, New York’s Madison Square Garden Arena, and 1.1m apiece for the Forum in California and WiZink Center in Madrid – the latter falling short of the third spot by fewer than a thousand tickets – according to Pollstar’s recently released top 200 arena venues chart.

“We’ve seen a huge amount of activity at the O2 this year”

The O2 is ranked 13th in Pollstar’s chart, with 765,860 tickets sold – far fewer than the two-plus million claimed by AEG. However, AEG no longer provides Pollstar with box-office figures following the magazine’s acquisition by rival outfit Oak View Group in July 2017, and its own numbers tally more closely with 2017, when the O2’s ticket sales were over 1.4m, according to that year’s Pollstar chart.

Speaking just before Christmas, John Langford, newly appointed COO of AEG Europe, said: “We’ve seen a huge amount of activity at the O2 this year, with the opening of ICON Outlet, Oxygen Freejumping and not to mention the record-breaking content that’s kept over two million entertained.

“I’d like to thank each and every person at the O2 and I’m confident that Steve Sayer will oversee another incredible year when he takes over as VP and general manager in 2019.”

The O2, which opened in 2007, has been the world’s top arena for ticket sales since 2008.


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