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2011 Top Tours – U2 Reigns Supreme

11:47 AM Wednesday 12/28/11 |   |

U2 dominated the world concert biz as well as North America’s live music scene, proving that it really is the Irish band’s world and we just live in it.

  • Bono of U2

    FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa
    February 13, 2011

    (AP Photo)

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As yet another example that even the best-made plans often go astray, U2 wouldn’t be at the top of 2011’s box office results if it wasn’t for Bono’s 2010 back injury that resulted in the band postponing a large chunk of its 360° tour until 2011.

Worldwide, U2 fans gobbled up 2,387,535 tickets in 2011 at an average price of $97.15 per. The stadium tour sold an average of 91,828 tickets per show for a final global gross of $231.9 million (All figures converted to U.S. dollars).

U2’s North American journey was equally impressive, selling 1,701,486 tickets overall for a year’s gross of $156 million.

  • U2

    Hippodrome De Montreal, Montreal, QC
    July 8, 2011

    (AP Photo / The Canadian Press)

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But even though U2 was the 1,000 pound touring gorilla, it wasn’t the only act reaping box office success. Globally, Take That’s reunion tour with former member Robbie Williams took in $224 million during 2011 to place the British vocal group in second place. Third place went to Bon Jovi with the New Jersey band grossing $148.8 million during the year. Also achieving positions on Pollstar’s Top 5 Worldwide Tour chart are Taylor Swift ($104.2 million) and Roger Waters ($103.6 million).

How do the numbers add up when compared to last year? This year’s Top 25 Worldwide Tours grossed a combined $2.1 billion, nearly identical to last year.

This year’s Top 25 North American Tours grossed a combined $1.19 billion, which represents approximately a 4 percent drop from last year’s $1.24 billion. Although the overall dollar volume was down in 2011, the industry fared much better doing fewer shows and taking a more cautious approach in its objectives.

  • Bon Jovi

    Philips Arena, Atlanta, Ga.
    May 14, 2011

    (Chris McKay / WireImage.com)

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  • Taylor Swift

    Frank Erwin Center,  Austin, TX
    October 26, 2011

    (Gary Miller)

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While U2 topped the North America chart, Taylor Swift’s $97.7 million gross resulted in second place for the country songbird. Third place went to Kenny Chesney for grossing $84.6 million for the year. Lady Gaga was the fourth-highest grossing artist in North America with $63.7 million and Bon Jovi took fifth place by grossing $57.1 million.

2012 is showing a lot of promise with acts such Van Halen, Madonna, Roger Waters and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band among the top-tier concert draws hitting the road this year. Reunions will also be in play during the next 12 months as Brian Wilson rejoins The Beach Boys for the group’s 50th anniversary, Black Sabbath heads out with Ozzy Osbourne.  Meanwhile, word is Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham will be in the next Fleetwood Mac tour.

  • Ozzy Osbourne

    Estadio GEBA, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    March 26, 2011

    (AP Photo)

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Speaking of anniversaries, The Rolling Stones will celebrate the big 50 in 2012 but the band has yet to comment on any tour plans.

Of course, we have plenty more figures to show and tell. Click here for Pollstar’s Top 25 Worldwide Tours chart and here for our North American Top 25 tours.


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