After touring arenas and stadiums for much of the last four decades, Madonna is experimenting with a new format for her live shows, playing mini-residencies in theaters around the world.
The Madame X Tour kicked off with a sold-out 16-show run at Brooklyn’s Howard Gilman Opera House (the theater is one of many facilities at BAM, the Brooklyn Academy of Music). Averaging less than 2,000 seats per night, Madonna played to intimate audiences over the span of a month. According to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore, the shows combined to gross $9.6 million and sold 31,401 tickets.
Broken out by month, Madonna’s nine shows in September grossed $5.5 million (17,708 tickets), followed by seven shows from Oct. 1-12 that earned $4.1 million (13,693 tickets). That averages out to $601,985 and 1,963 tickets per show.
Playing such intimate shows means that the extended stay at each venue is necessary in order to capture the wide-ranging audience that Madonna has previously been able to reach in just one or two shows per city. Her last venture in New York was a two-show stint at Madison Square Garden, where she grossed $5.2 million and sold 28,371 tickets on the 2015-16 Rebel Heart Tour. Further, she hit Yankee Stadium on Sept. 6 and 8, 2012, pulling in $12.6 million from 79,775 tickets — more than twice the attendance of her 2019 theater run, playing one-eighth of the shows.
Tickets for the new tour ranged from $757 on the high end to $50. Based on the New York stint’s final figures, the average ticket sold for $306.73 — a sharp increase from her career average of $115.81. For a more comparative look, excluding the 1980s and '90s before ticketing exploded in the new millennium, Madonna averaged $125.46 in the 2000s and $147.33 in the current decade. Averaging as many as 41,000 fans per night on the 2008-09 Sticky & Sweet Tour, Madonna had the flexibility of charging a more reasonable ticket. But with fewer than 2,000 tickets to sell each night in 2019, she’s experimenting with higher prices.
Though reports through Madonna’s 1993 The Girlie Show World Tour remain incomplete, the Queen of Pop has racked up an incredible $1.3 billion gross from 11.5 million tickets over 516 reported shows, making her the second highest-grossing soloist in the history of Billboard Boxscore (she is the highest-grossing female artist, while Bruce Springsteen is No. 1 overall).
The Madame X Tour continues with seven dates in Chicago through Oct. 28, followed by multi-show runs in six additional U.S. cities and three European legs. With about 75 shows to go, smart math projects the tour to wrap in the $50 million-$55 million range. But as many of the upcoming venues are larger than the theater at BAM (Chicago Theatre holds 3,500 and The Colosseum at Caesars Palace tops 4,000 seats), the final gross could stretch past $60 million before its March 8, 2020, close at Paris’ Le Grand Rex.