Top Tour With Only 14-18 Events

Every year the Rolling Stones go touring, and every year their tour is one of the highest grossing tours of the year.

Which shouldn't be so surprising – they're living legends after all. However, a closer look reveals that the Rolling Stones only perform approximately 16 shows per year. More specifically 14 in 2016, and 18 in 2015.

Yet in 2015 their tour was the fourth highest grossing that year and in 2014 they were third. So we'll tell you why we think the Rolling Stones will also make the top list for highest grossing tours of 2016, even though the list hasn't been announced yet.

For Comparison

U2 grossed third in 2015 with 64 shows, and Kenny Chesney fifth with 57 shows. In 2014, Justin Timberlake grossed second with 111 shows and The Eagles were fourth with 70 shows.

In other words, how are the Rolling Stones ranking so high with 16 shows, next to the industry average of 60 shows in a year?

How is this possible?

They Don't Need More Shows

It's simple.

Every Rolling Stones show attracts tens of thousands of people who are willing to pay a lot to see them live.

How much a tour grosses over a year is only based on those two numbers: how many people are in the audience, and how much they pay for the ticket.

Their numbers are so high (see math below), they should ensure them to yet again be one of the top 10 highest grossing tours of 2016. The top lists haven't been announced yet – but we're sure $84 million is enough to get them in the top 10.

They don't need to do more than 16 shows. Which is truly remarkable.

The Math, As Promised

For the sceptics – here are the numbers.


In 2014 they had 21 dates. They were the third highest grossing tour of 2014. Because at each show:

  • They played for a lot of people, that year their 'fan per show' was the third highest of all
  • With the highest average ticket price, average $184
  • Meaning their gross per show was the highest of all tours in 2014.


In 2015 they had 18 dates

  • They played for a lot of people, 40k per show to be exact
  • For the highest average ticket price, average $185
  • Making their gross per show over $7 million, topped only by The Grateful Dead ($10 million, which is nuts).


In 2016 there were 14 shows, attended by 1.229 million people, that grossed $84 million. That's an average of 87,785 people per performance which means their gross per show in 2016 is $6 million (most top acts are in the $1-3 million range per show).