Madonna, Celine Dion top worldwide tours in 2008

Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:51pm EST
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Madonna and Celine Dion were the biggest worldwide concert draws in 2008, each selling more than $200 million worth of tickets to their slickly produced shows, trade publication Pollstar said on Tuesday.

The pop singers also took the top two spots in North America, which accounts for an estimated 40 percent of the concert business, Pollstar said.

Madonna's "Sticky & Sweet" world tour, which finished in Brazil last week, tallied $281.6 million from 17 countries. North American fans ponied up $105.3 million.

French-Canadian balladeer Dion, launching her first world tour in more than eight years, earned $236.6 million from 24 countries, with North America contributing $94 million.

This year marks the first time that Pollstar has compiled foreign data. Among the all-time North American tours, Madonna's ranks at No. 8 and Dion's at No. 12. The Rolling Stones hold the record with $162 million from their 2005 trek.

Dion, 40, might well be the hardest working woman in show business, having made Pollstar's list of top 10 acts every year since 2003. That year she began a 700-plus show residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and grossed more than $385 million by the time it wrapped last December.

Rounding out the top five of Pollstar's worldwide list were Bon Jovi ($176.3 million), Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band ($165.8 million), and last year's North American champs the Police ($120.6 million).

Pollstar said fewer people went to concerts in North America this year, and despite the incipient recession those who went were prepared to sharply pay more for their tickets.   Continued...

<p>Madonna performs during the Los Angeles date of her "Sticky and Sweet" tour at Dodgers stadium in Los Angeles, November 6, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>