Her tour has not yet started, but when Madonna concludes her forthcoming Sticky & Sweet Tour, which kicks off August 23 in Cardiff, Wales,...

Her tour has not yet started, but when Madonna concludes her forthcoming Sticky & Sweet Tour, which kicks off August 23 in Cardiff, Wales, the tour could gross an estimated $250 million for the 55 shows, according to the tour’s promoter Live Nation. This tops her 2006 Confessions tour gross of $195 million for 60 concerts. Madonna will then not only again possess the record for a female touring artist, breaking her own record, but will join the higher echelon of all touring acts.

Only the Rolling Stones, U2 and The Police have grossed more on a single tour. The Rolling Stones grossed $558 million for the 2005-07 Bigger Bang tour with 144 shows performed; U2 generated a gross of $389 million for the 2005-06 Vertigo tour with 133 concerts; and The Police will likely gross more than $350 million for the 151 concerts on their 2007-08 reunion tour. In fact, the Rolling Stones have grossed more than $300 million on two other tours; $320 million for its 1994-95 The Voodoo Lounge Tour for 128 shows, and $312 million for their 2003-04 Licks tour for which they played more than 120 shows.

Madonna is approaching those numbers with only 55 shows.

“Most shows already sold out and likely all will be virtually sold out when all is said and done,” Live Nation Artists CEO Global Touring and Chairman Global Music Arthur Fogel told TicketNews. “We’re already at 90 percent of all total tour capacity sold.”

According to Live Nation, Madonna has already sold more than 1 million tickets for the tour with just 42 shows on sale. She opens with 17 shows in Europe, followed by 28 in North America, two in Mexico City and eight in South America. Thirteen shows have not gone on sale yet: three in Europe, two in the U.S. and all eight in South America (four in Brazil, two in Argentina and two in Chile), which will take place from December 3-21. Athens, Greece went on sale last week and immediately sold out.

Tickets have been selling like hot cakes in most markets: Paris (110,000 tickets); Mexico City (100,000); Lisbon (75,000); Zurich (70,000); Athens (67,000); New York (64,500); London (64,000); Rome (51,000); Vancouver (50,000); and Amsterdam (47,000). Despite the numbers, the tour has received some criticism over a perception of slow ticket sales.

“Ticket sales are everything I could hope for and once again those that doubt Madonna are proven wrong,” Fogel said. “The doubters might want to spend time worrying about their own business because mine is as good as it gets”

There are some tickets still available for the four of the five stadium shows in North America; Vancouver sold out 48,000 tickets in 50 minutes for a gross of $5.7 million; San Diego has sold 30,200 out of 35,000 seats and has grossed $4.2 million so far; Miami has sold 35,600 out of 42,000 for $4.1 million; Los Angeles 29,300 out of 43,000 for $3.9 million; and Houston 41,000 out of 45,000 for $4.8 million. It should be noted that three arena shows are generally equivalent to one stadium concert, attendance-wise, thus Madonna is outselling double nights in these arenas. “We’re selling a few hundred tickets every few days,” advised Fogel.

In addition, there are still some seats in the venues where second shows were added: Oakland, Denver, Chicago and Las Vegas, and there are also a few singles seats in arenas in Philadelphia, Atlantic City and Atlanta.

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By Bob Grossweiner & Jane Cohen