Madonna Rules the Road in '08

Madonna is enjoying the sticky and sweet smell of success as the top-grossing act of 2008

By David Jenison Dec 29, 2008 6:06 PMTags

This year Madonna enjoyed the sticky and sweet smell of success.

According to numbers released by concert trade magazine Pollstar, the Material Girl was the year's top concert draw in North America with ticket sales in excess of $105 million. After launching last summer in Wales, her Sticky & Sweet tour hit North America in early October for nearly eight weeks of concert dates.

Worldwide the tour actually grossed more than $280 million, making Sticky & Sweet the highest-grossing tour ever by a solo artist. Fittingly, the solo record she broke was her own: $195 million for her 2006 Confessions tour.

"Not only will this tour be the top selling tour of all time for a solo artist and a female artist (eclipsing her own record), but it will position her as one of the top selling touring artists of all time," noted Arthur Fogel, Live Nation's Chairman of Global Music and CEO of Global Touring, in a statement.

Sticky & Sweet, which promotes her 2008 chart-topping album Hard Candy, is the singer's first major venture as part of a new recording, touring and business deal—reportedly worth about $120 million—that she signed with Live Nation in late '07.

Madonna was also the iceberg to Celine Dion's titanic road return. Following a five-year residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the Canadian superstar sold $94 million in tickets to her Taking Chances tour, which finished the year as the second-highest grosser.

The Eagles and Kenny Chesney roped in the third and fourth biggest tours. The Hall of Fame rockers sold $73.4 million worth of tickets, just edging out Chesney's $72.2 million.

Bon Jovi, who had the biggest tour worldwide with nearly $211 million in tickets (per Billboard), sold over $70.4 million in North America for the year's No. 5 spot. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band followed at No. 2 worldwide ($204.5 million) and No. 6 in North America ($69.3 million).

The Police reunion tour, which topped 2007 with $132 million in ticket sales, finished ninth in '08 with another $48 million.

The year's remaining Top 10 acts included Neil Diamond at No. 7 ($59.8 million), Rascal Flatts ($55.8 million) at No. 8 and Tina Turner ($47.7 million) in the 10 spot.

To recap, the year's Top 10 highest-grossing tours were as follows:

1. Madonna ($105 million)
2. Celine Dion ($94 million)
3. The Eagles ($73.4 million)
4. Kenny Chesney ($72.2 million)
5. Bon Jovi ($70.4 million)
6. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band ($69.3 million)
7. Neil Diamond ($59.8 million)
8. Rascal Flatts ($55.8 million)
9. The Police ($48 million)
10. Tina Turner ($47.7 million)