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Madonna's MDNA is top-grossing 2012 tour, raking in nearly US$300 mil.

LOS ANGELES--Madonna was queen of the world in 2012, at least as far as touring pop music performers, delivering the highest-grossing concert tour of the year and raking in nearly US$300 million at the box office worldwide, according to Pollstar, the concert-industry tracking magazine.

Madonna's MDNA tour visited 67 cities for 88 performances that grossed US$296.1 million, an average of US$4.4 million a night, Pollstar's data shows. Her average ticket price was just over US$140, far from the priciest concert tickets of the year.

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band came in at No. 2, grossing US$210.2 million from 81 shows in 66 cities on the Wrecking Ball tour. Springsteen sold more tickets than Madonna — nearly 2.3 million to her 2.1 million — but at significantly lower ticket prices. Seats for Springsteen's shows averaged just under US$92.

Third place went to Roger Waters with US$186.4 million, making him the only act in the top 10 most lucrative tours who also made that list last year. Waters jumped up two positions from last year, selling almost 1.7 million tickets and posting an average nightly gross of nearly US$3.9 million during 72 shows in 48 cities.

“Proving there is a global diversity of attractions, only 13 artists from 2011 made this year's top 50,” Pollstar Editor Gary Bongiovanni noted in a statement accompanying the magazine's tour report. “It is also worth noting that the global brand strength of Cirque du Soleil has never been greater, with eight different touring shows ranking on the chart.”

Coming in behind Waters, Coldplay finished at No. 4 with US$171.3 million, followed by Lady Gaga in fifth place with US$161.4 million.

Pollstar's numbers are close to Billboard's recently published year-end tour tally but reflect some notable differences. Billboard uses a slightly earlier reporting period — Nov. 9, 2011, through Nov. 13, 2012, versus Pollstar's Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 time frame. In addition, Pollstar incorporates projections on shows not reported by promoters to provide a fuller approximation of the actual totals.

Rounding out Pollstar's top 10 were Cirque du Soleil's “Michael Jackson: The Immortal” tour at No. 6 (with a gross of US$140.2 million), Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw's Brothers of the Sun stadium tour (No. 7, US$96.5 million), Metallica (No. 8, US$86.1 million), Elton John (No. 9, US$69.9 million) and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (No. 10, US$57.8 million).

Chesney and McGraw logged the highest average attendance, playing to 49,336 fans on average during their summer run.

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