U2’s Sphere Residency Breaks Las Vegas Box Office Record

Posted on: November 28, 2023, 07:06h. 

Last updated on: November 29, 2023, 09:35h.

U2’s initial run of shows at the MSG Sphere generated nearly $110 million in ticket sales, according to figures reported to Billboard, making it the fastest-grossing Las Vegas residency ever.

The Edge and Bono
The Edge and Bono have found what they’re looking for. (Unaltered image: Rolling Stone, cash courtesy picturesofmoney.org)

The only Vegas residencies that have grossed more so far than “U2:UV Achtung Baby Live” had to run for much longer to do so. Elton John’s “The Million Dollar Piano” earned $131.2M over 189 shows from 2011-18, and Celine Dion’s “A New Day” earned $385.1M over 714 shows from 2003-07, according to Billboard.

The Irish band’s first 17 shows at the globular venue also sold 281K tickets, averaging the gross and attendance figures out to $6.5 million and 16,500 tickets per show. The average price of U2’s show was also a record-breaker.

Modern Las Vegas residencies tend to charge more due to the A-list acts they now feature in smaller theaters, such as Lady Gaga ($290.15) and Bruno Mars ($285.30) at the 6,400-seat Dolby Live at the Park MGM.

The average ticket price for “U2:UV Achtung Baby Live” was a much higher $390.97, even though crowds had to see them in a full-sized arena.

Beautiful Day (for U2)

While this is good news for the Sphere and its CEO, James Dolan, it’s much better news for U2. That’s because, according to reports, the band was paid 90% of the earnings from ticket sales to be the Sphere’s guinea pigs — an unheard-of percentage — in addition to $10M upfront to produce its own stage show for the groundbreaking venue.

Now, any act that follows U2 is going to demand similar numbers, which may be why Harry Styles, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Bon Jovi have all been mentioned, but none has committed yet to a Sphere residency.

U2 is scheduled to play eight more Sphere shows in December, starting on Friday night, and 11 more dates are lined up between January 26 and February 18. That could mean another $120M for the Sphere (but mostly the band), pushing the residency to $330M in ticket sales, just behind Dion, but in fewer than five months instead of over four years.