Access All Areas December 2021 - Page 30

WINTER | CASE STUDY

Stuart Galbraith Simon Jones Paul Newman Dan Ealam
on 29 October by Asylum / Atlantic , it outsold the rest of the Top 30 combined to become his fifth No . 1 album . By early November the album has been streamed more than a billion times on Spotify .
In June , with full-capacity audience live shows still banned , a livestream gig by Sheeran at Ipswich Town ’ s Portman Road stadium became the most viewed live music performance on TikTok with 5.5 million views . The build-up to the September Mathematics Tour on-sale went to plan but since the reopening of venues and events in July last year , operators have reported a higher number of no-shows than pre-pandemic . Aside from ticket holders not turning up , purchasing habits have shifted somewhat with some shows seeing fans holding off and buying tickets closer to the event . But , as you would expect from Sheeran ’ s team , the Mathematics Tour on-sale was timed for maximum impact .
Says Ollier , “ A lot of festivals last year blew out their tickets in record time because they went on sale soon after Boris Johnson made that good news announcement in March , the sun started to come out after winter and there was a lot of optimism . With Ed ’ s tour , we were sensitive to the market and announced the on-sale in September because people had just experienced events for the first time in a long time , and the winter hadn ’ t kicked in yet .”
AEG Presents senior vice president international touring Simon Jones is another long-time member of the Ed Sheeran team , having worked with him since 2011 Jones has promoted his shows
in Africa , Asia , the Middle East and Europe . On the forthcoming tour , Jones ’ remit includes the two dates at Hampden Park in June .
The promoter says the first of the two Glasgow dates has sold out and the other is selling very well : “ Ed has ridden the wave of the positive side of coming out of the back of the pandemic . The shows went on sale during a very positive period and the Glasgow dates have sold fantastically well .”
Jones says announcing such a largescale stadium tour when the industry was emerging from the lengthy pandemic lockdown was a hugely positive step for everyone involved in the events ecosystem : “ With so many people out of work for so long , having this tour announced helped breed a real sense of positivity across the industry .”
Ealam adds , “ With Mathematics we were the first big stadium tour that went on sale after the reopening , so all eyes were on us . It was a big relief for everyone in the industry that people were buying tickets in those kind of numbers off the back of such a terrible year .”
Throughout Sheeran ’ s career he has defied expectations and set new landmarks , and so it is not surprising that if any act can generate huge ticket sales during a pandemic it would be him .
“ Ed has really changed the way people think about what is possible in this industry ,” says Ealam . “ It was not the done thing to do arenas on a debut album tour , or to do stadiums on album two , but Ed did it . It all boils down to him being an incredible performer –
Ed can command audiences in huge venues while performing alone on stage , it is incredible .”
Ollier says that it was necessary to consider rising inflation in some overseas territories on the tour but as a gesture to fans who have come through a pandemic ticket prices for the UK shows were frozen to remain the same as the Divide Tour .
Tackling touts With the aim of protecting the fanbase from exploitation by nefarious , profiteering , mass ticket resale operators , Ed Sheeran and his team have had a long and very public battle with touts . Galbraith says that on the Divide Tour , some 80,000 tickets were cancelled and reissued to fans who were known to have been ripped off .
As a result , controversial secondary ticketer Viagogo took legal action against Galbraith and Kilimanjaro for what it described as “ defrauding thousands of fans out of several million pounds ” on the tour due to the cancellation of the resold tickets .
The court action was filed in Germany , where Kilimanjaro ’ s owner Deutsche Entertainment AG ( DEAG ) is based . Says Galbraith , “ The case collapsed , they withdrew and we were awarded costs because we were ensuring customers were not ripped off . We took measures to identify the people who had brought the tickets and were profiteering .”
In 2018 the Competition and Markets Authority ( CMA ) issued High Court proceedings against Viagogo over concerns it was breaking consumer protection law , and it is conducting an ongoing investigation into the secondary ticketing sector .
While the anti-tout measures during the Divide Tour meant attendees had to present a credit or debit card in order to collect their tickets at the venue gates , for next year ’ s shows Sheeran ’ s team has moved entirely to digital ticketing .
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