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Sheeran wraps up Divide tour with hometown return

Ending where it all began, Ed Sheeran is performing the final concerts of his record-breaking ÷ (Divide) tour in his hometown of Ipswich, UK.

After spending 893 days on the road, performing at 166 venues in 43 countries and breaking attendance records in Iceland, Finland and South Africa, the end of Sheeran’s Divide tour – the highest grossing concert tour ever – is finally in sight.

Sheeran is closing the tour with four homecoming gigs at a specially erected 40,000-capacity arena in Chantry Park, Ipswich, from Friday 23 to Monday 26 August. The shows follow two UK tour dates in Roundhay Park, Leeds, last weekend.

After spending 893 days on the road, performing at 166 venues in 43 countries and breaking attendance records in Iceland, Finland and South Africa, the end of Sheeran’s Divide tour is in sight

According to local paper, Ipswich Star, fans have been queuing from as early as 5 a.m. to secure the best spot at today’s (23 August) show.

Fellow Suffolk-hailing act the Darkness will support Sheeran at all four shows, with Passenger warming up crowds on Friday and Saturday and Lewis Capaldi kicking things off on the other two nights.

Sheeran’s team includes his manager, Stuart Camp, agents Jon Ollier (CAA) and Marty Diamond (Paradigm), tour manager Mark Friend and a roster of promoters that includes FKP Scorpio in Germany, AEG Presents, DHP Family and Kilimanjaro Live in the UK, Frontier Touring down under and Messina Touring Group in North America.

Tickets for the concerts are priced at £82.50, with only tickets for the Monday evening show remaining at press time.

 


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Sheeran extends record-breaking streak in Iceland

Ed Sheeran played two shows in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik this weekend to record crowds, as the mammoth ÷ (Divide) tour shows no sign of slowing down.

Almost 50,000 people attended the AEG Presents/ Sena Live-promoted shows at the Laugardalsvöllur stadium on 10 and 11 August.

The shows became the biggest in the country’s history, with attendance equating to one in seven of the total Icelandic population.

The feat is the latest in a series of records for the singer’s Divide tour, which became the highest-grossing tour ever on 2 August. On its conclusion, more than 8.5 million people across 43 countries will have seen Sheeran perform on the tour, making it the most attended of all time.

“Though the biggest tour in history is coming to an incredible crescendo the records keep coming for Ed,” says AEG Presents senior vice president of international live music, Simon Jones.

“These historic shows in Iceland were like nothing I have ever seen”

“These historic shows in Iceland were like nothing I have ever seen. They completely took over the country with Sheeran fever at its peak. It was absolutely a national event and the scale of the shows relative to the population was colossal.”

Earlier this year, AEG Presents promoted the singer’s first-ever headline shows in South Africa, breaking previous tickets sales in the country by 30,000.

Sheeran also put on the biggest-ever concert in Finland, playing two shows promoted by FKP Scorpio’s Fullsteam Agency in Helsinki to 108,000 fans.

Other highlights for AEG Presents in the past year include Hugh Jackman playing six nights at the O2 in London and Shawn Mendes’ arena tour. A European tour with Khalid is set for the autumn.

 


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Sheeran’s Divide to become highest-grossing tour ever

Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) is on course to become the highest-grossing concert tour of all time, breaking the current record, US$735.4 million, set by U2’s 360° stadium tour in July 2011.

According to Pollstar data, the Divide tour will tonight (2 August) exceed that total when it plays the Hanover Fairgrounds in northern Germany – one of the latest run of European open-airs that smashed onsale records last autumn – with the Hanover show set to push Sheeran’s total gross to $736.7m.

Total tour attendance, meanwhile, will stand at 8,504,493, from shows at 166 venues in 43 countries, compared to the 360° tour’s 7.3m.

Posting on Instagram today (2 August), Sheeran thanked “each and every one” of his fans for helping the tour become a record breaker:

 

View this post on Instagram

Today the Divide tour broke the all time tour record set by U2. Its now the most attended and highest grossing tour of all time. Thanks so much for each and every one of you who have come to a show. 12 shows left, will never forget it x

A post shared by Ed Sheeran (@teddysphotos) on

In contrast to the ‘slow’ ticketing model popularised by Sheeran’s friend Taylor Swift on her Reputation stadium tour – using dynamic pricing to capture maximum value from tickets, often at the expense of outright sell-outs – Team Sheeran employed a touring strategy that combined a huge amount of shows, including multiple stadium and arena dates, with relatively low-priced tickets.

The tour’s final show tally is expected to be 255, compared to U2’s 110, with tickets around $15% cheaper on average ($86.75, compared to $101.15 for the 360° tour). Despite keeping ticket prices low, Sheeran still placed first on Pollstar’s 2018 top 100 tours chart – the only artist in the top ten to do so without VIP ticketing, alongside an aggressive campaign against the secondary market.

Sheeran’s team includes his manager, Stuart Camp, agents Jon Ollier (CAA) and Marty Diamond (Paradigm), tour manager Mark Friend and a roster of promoters that includes FKP Scorpio in Germany, AEG Presents, DHP Family and Kilimanjaro Live in the UK, Frontier Touring down under and Messina Touring Group in North America.

“What Ed has accomplished is truly incredible”

Ray Waddell, who oversees Pollstar owner Oak View Group’s media and conferences division, says: “They assembled an impressive team of international and domestic executive talent. In all my years covering the business, it’s amazing to see an artist like Sheeran, at the age of 28, create a new touring paradigm and achieve a touring record that may not be broken in this lifetime. And he still has a lot more to do.”

“What Ed has accomplished is truly incredible,” comments Camp. “I thought we might have a shot at having the highest attendance record but not the highest-grossing tour.”

On the significance of beating U2, Camps adds: “I don’t think there’s much of a coincidence that my favourite band growing up was U2.

“I’m not putting us at that level because they’ve obviously maintained their career for much longer, but to even be in the same ballpark as them or spoken in the same sentence with a touring act like that is very humbling.”

 


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Top 10 tours of 2018 all gross over $100m in record year

The ten biggest touring artists of 2018 brought in a collective US$2bn+, with all grossing more US$100 million each, in a year packed with “remarkable box-office feats”, according to Pollstar’s traditional end-of-year ticket sales chart.

As at mid-year and in Q3, and on the back of a raft of near-instant sell-outs for the 12th leg of his unstoppable ÷ tour, Ed Sheeran was by far the biggest tour of the year, jumping from the eighth spot in 2017 to claim No 1 in 2018. With a gross of $432.4m from 94 shows, the Sheeran tour is the highest gross ever recorded for an artist in a single year, according to the top 100 worldwide tours chart.

According to Pollstar, the ÷ tour is the first to top $400m, and one of only two to gross more than $300m, in a single year  – after U2 in 2017.

Taylor Swift, whose Reputation stadium tour recently became the highest-grossing in US history, is second, taking $345.1m from fewer dates, but with a higher average ticket price and higher gross per show.

Rounding out the top ten, with tour grosses in US$, are:

Live Nation was the top-selling promoter to the tune of nearly 40 million tickets – 49.6m compared to AEG Presents’ 11.6m – with AEG-owned Messina Touring Group third with 5.3m.

In total, the top 100 worldwide tours grossed $5.6bn, with 59.8m tickets sold.

According to PwC figures, the value of of the global live music business is set to continue growing through the rest of the decade and the start of the next, reaching $30bn by 2022.

 


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Bridging the Divide: Sheeran on top again in Q3

As expected, the touring juggernaut that is Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) continues to be the preeminent tour of 2018, having shifted more than 4.3 million tickets since the start of the year.

That’s according to Pollstar’s third-quarter top 100 tours chart, which sees Sheeran having sold nearly 2m more tickets than his nearest rival, Taylor Swift (Reputation), and close to 2.5m more than third-placed Beyoncé and Jay-Z (OTR II).

Sheeran, who was similarly on top in Q2, smashed several records across Europe last week after going on sale 12th leg of the ÷ tour, which will see him play a run of European festivals, parks, stadia and other open-air venues from May to August 2019.

“We are selling out everywhere and it’s only the beginning”

“We are humbled by the continuing success of the tour,” Sheeran’s manager, Stuart Camp, tells Pollstar. “We always set out to get to play to as many people – in as many parts of the world – that wanted to see us. The run has been a testament to Ed’s broad appeal and the hard work of all our partners worldwide – be it the promoters, labels and, of course, our touring crew who are second to none.”

Louis Messina, CEO of Sheeran’s North American promoter, Messina Touring Group, adds: “Ed just amazes me night after night. For me seeing him grow into one of the biggest stars in the world is heartwarming.

“We are selling out everywhere and it’s only the beginning. I’m honoured to work for Ed.”

 


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Edmania: Sheeran breaks records across Europe with new onsales

Not content with having almost certainly the biggest tour of this year, the Ed Sheeran touring colossus is extending its record-breaking ÷ run deeper into 2019, having already smashed touring records across Europe ahead of a string of open-air dates next summer.

The 12th leg of the ÷ (pronounced ‘Divide’) tour sees Sheeran play a run of European festivals, parks, stadia and other open-air venues, touching down at Groupama Stadium (59,186-cap.) in Lyons on 24 May 2019 and wrapping up with three nights in Chantry Park in Ipswich, in Sheeran’s home county of Suffolk, on 23–25 August.

The tour has done gangbuster business since starting back in March 2017, with the British singer-songwriter’s lasting popularity – dubbed ‘Edmania’ by European promoter FKP Scorpio – driving huge numbers across all legs, including 1m tickets sold in Australasia (leg seven), 750,000 tickets across FKP shows in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Poland (leg nine) and, currently, a US$300m-and-counting-grossing US stadium run (leg ten).

The tour was also the highest grossing in the world in the first half of 2018, shifting more than 2.6m tickets – more than double that of runner-up Disney on Ice.

Tickets for leg 12 went on sale last week, and promoters across Europe are already reporting a massive response to the new run of shows, believed to be the last of the tour.

“‘Edmania’ has no end,” enthuses Germany’s FKP Scorpio, which has in five days sold more than 200,000 tickets for just four shows: Hockenheimring on 22 and 23 June and Hanover Fairground on 2 and 3 August.

9% – or nearly one in ten – Icelanders are going to the Reykjavik show

The company is additionally co-promoting two dates in Prague (Letňany airport, 7 and 8 July), one in Riga (Lucavsala Park, 12 July) and two in Helsinki (Malmi airport, 23 and 24 July), in partnership with Charmenko, L Tips Agency and Fullsteam, respectively, all of which it says are seeing “great local demand” for tickets.

The fan response has been similarly overwhelming in France, where promoter Live Nation added a second Groupama Stadium date after the first sold out in minutes on Thursday morning, and at home, where Kilimanjaro Live and DHP Family added a third Ipswich show after the 23 and 24 August dates sold out in under half an hour.

In Romania, 25,000 tickets to Sheeran’s 3 July show at Bucharest’s National Arena stadium sold in record time; in Spain the figure is 70,000 in three hours, for two Live Nation-promoted shows in Barcelona and Madrid on 7 and 11 June, respectively.

In Austria, meanwhile, the onsale for a 28 June Wörthersee Stadium (30,000-cap.) set a new record by selling out in just three minutes; a second date announced for the following night took half an hour. Sheeran has now sold 180,000 tickets in Austria in the last 12 months alone, following two huge concerts at Happel Stadium in Vienna last month, reports Österreich.

But perhaps nowhere more is Sheeran’s status as the world’s premier live draw more apparent than in tiny Iceland, where promoters Sena Live and AEG Presents sold a record-breaking 30,000+ tickets in the space of two hours for his 10 August date at Laugardalsvöllur in Reykjavik. At last count, the population of Iceland was 334,252, meaning around 9% – or nearly one in ten – Icelanders are going to the show. If the same was true in, say, the US, you’d need a stadium that could fit 29m people…

 


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Ed Sheeran plays to 80,000 fans in Hamburg

Ed Sheeran’s latest show at Hamburg’s Trabrennbahn Bahrenfeld (25 July) saw some 80,000 people in attendance, his largest crowd on the current European leg of his ÷ tour. The success of the concert adds yet another accolade to the tourwhich already boasts the highest ticket sales of any 2018 tour so far.

Supported by British artists Jamie Lawson and Anne-Marie, the 27-year-old Sheeran delivered delivered his one-man performance with just a collection of guitars and a loop pedal. Fans of all ages welcomed Sheeran performing some of his most well-known tracks throughout the evening, even bringing out their smartphone torches in place of lighters for the number 1 song ‘Perfect’.

Whilst fans revelled, the current heatwave affecting much of Europe presented organisers with challenges in the hours leading up to the concert. With devout fans arriving hours early, emergency services rolled out preventative measures for those spending all day in the heat. Despite scorching temperatures throughout the day reaching well over 30 degrees in the open-air arena, the show went off without major incident, receiving a thumbs up from local emergency services and organisers.

“Overall, we had about 250 problem cases, all of which could be solved locally”

“The event went in our view without any significant incidents,” says Jörg Büttner, director of the Hamburg fire brigade. “We provided assistance in around 200 cases… with a concert of this size, at these temperatures, that is absolutely at the lower end of the spectrum.”

Ahead of the concert, questions were raised over the decision to personalise tickets, however organisers reported the initiative a success. Christian Wiesmann, event director of FKP Scorpio, says the personalisation was a bid to protect ticket buyers against profiteering and exploitative secondary ticket sellers. On the success of the initiative, he says: “Overall, we had about 250 problem cases, all of which could be solved locally.”

“After the concerts of the Rolling Stones and the Foo Fighters, this was the third world star within the past twelve months,” he adds. “An event with 80,000 visitors is an immense effort that can only be handled jointly by all involved. Everyone worked excellently for Ed Sheeran.”

 


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