Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour has had an estimated $4.6 billion impact on the US economy. This seems absurd at first, but HVS analysis reveals that Swift’s tour is an immense outlier from other concert tours in attracting attendees from out of town. More than 3.7 million people traveled more than 100 miles from home to see Swift perform.
Taylor Swift and her fans may be one of the most powerful forces in the world. They have broken Ticketmaster’s website multiple times with overwhelming demand for tickets for Swift’s Eras Tour and forced stadiums to bar gatherings of fans outside the venue during the concert. According to some estimates, Eras may inject as much as $4.6 billion into the US economy. These massive and opaque estimates may cause some to roll their eyes at another justification for public spending on stadium projects. But Swift’s tour is truly unique in the scale of economic impact it generates relative to other concert tours. HVS compared the number of concert attendees who traveled more than 100 miles to attend a performance of one of five tours from 2022 through August 2023. The massive economic impact of the Era’s Tour is generated by the huge number of attendees traveling long distances to see Swift perform.
Economic impact refers to increased economic activity due to increased spending in a market area. But, not all economic impact is created equal. Some of it is a transfer of spending, and some is imported, increasing overall economic activity. A transfer of economic impact is spending that would have occurred in the market area regardless: a Chicago resident goes to see Swift at Soldier Field instead of seeing a different show, a baseball game, or spending disposable income on something else that weekend. They spend money in Chicago either way: at another music venue, Wrigley Field, Soldier Field, or in other economic sectors like restaurants and bars.
The imported economic impact is more meaningful because it focuses on new spending that would only have occurred in a market with an event. People who travel to see Swift at Soldier Field from St. Louis or Des Moines would not have otherwise spent money on entertainment in Chicago. Their spending on hotels, concert tickets, meals, and shopping is new to Chicago and caused by the Swift tour.
To identify the attendees who are new to the market and import their spending, HVS used data from Placer.ai. Placer.ai uses phone tracking data from third-party apps to count attendees at an event and to track their origin and distance traveled. HVS also used data from Pollstar to identify different tour dates and stops for the acts chosen.
HVS identified four other large US tours besides Swift’s Eras tour to analyze the origin of attendees. These tours occurred from 2022 to August 2023, including Beyonce, Dead and Company, Ed Sheeran, and Elton John. The table below shows the artist and percentage of attendees that traveled more than 100 miles to attend a show on the tour.
Source: Placer.ai, HVS
This difference between Swift and the Dead and Company may seem insignificant, and the economic impact of the Dead is rarely lauded in the national press despite the number of people who travel long distances to see them. The reason is that the Dead and Company tour, made up of former Grateful Dead members and friends, has an immensely loyal following that travels with the tour from city to city. What sets the Swifties apart from the Deadheads is the volume of attendees to drive the massive economic impact.
The figure below shows the average number of attendees at a show that are from more than 100 miles away.
Source: Placer.ai, HVS
Per show, Taylor Swift is attracting more than 72,000 people from more than 100 miles away to her tour. This is more than double the second largest, Ed Sheeran, with less than 30,000. Despite 40% of attendees being from more than 100 miles away, the Dead and Company’s attendance falls off due to playing smaller amphitheaters and baseball stadiums, unlike Swift’s use of massive football stadiums.
This gap is exacerbated even further when you consider the length of each tour. The Eras tour lasted 53 shows, with the next longest being 29 done by Dead and Company and Elton John. The Beyonce and Ed Sheeran tours are ongoing, and data collection stopped after 8/15.
The figure below shows the total number of attendees from more than 100 miles away for the tours. For the two ongoing tours, which conclude in October, HVS assumed the average number of attendees from more than 100 miles away for the shows before August 15th would remain consistent for the shows scheduled after that date.
Source: Pollstar, Placer.ai, HVS
The 53 shows that make up the Eras Tour push Swift above the four other tours combined. Over 3.7 million people traveled over 100 miles to see Taylor Swift perform in the US. None of the other concert tours analyzed broke 1 million, and Ed Sheeran is projected to get slightly more than 800,000. For Ed Sheeran to reach the same number of attendees from more than 100 miles, he would have to perform more than 125 times.
Visit Cincy, the Cincinnati tourism office, estimated that spending related to the Eras Tour reached $48 million . Chicago and Minneapolis broke records for the number of hotel rooms occupied in each city while the Swift tour was in town, with Chicago’s room occupancy rate reaching 96.8%. Even the Country Music Hall of Fame had its best month in its 65-year history when Swift came to Nashville in May. The Philadelphia Reserve, part of the US Central Bank, mentioned Swift's impact on the tourism sector in May when she played in Philadelphia .
An economic impact of $4.6 billion seems unbelievable, especially for a tour of only 53 events. However, these events are getting more than 72,000 people to bring increased spending to a market area. If the bar for importing spending is lowered to a 50-mile radius, more than 88,000 people are importing spending into a market per show. The impressive scale of this impact makes the Eras Tour exceptional.
 The Wall Street Journal, It’s Taylor Swift’s Economy, and We’re All Living in It, Retrieved August 16, 2023.
 Forbes, Taylor Swift’s the Eras Tour Could Generate $4.6 Billion for Local Economies, Retrieved August 16, 2023.
About Anthony Davis
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