Thinking Out Loud about Ed Sheeran’s merchandise madness

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Whilst Ed Sheeran was toppling ticket sales records across the region, the Love Police ATM (Australian Tour Merchandise) team were busy preparing to sell $6million worth of merchandise.

The popular Brit took to Etihad Stadium at 8:45pm on Friday 10 March and during the four shows sold a staggering $3.5m worth of merchandise – the highest takings for any artist in Melbourne.

The merchandise which would be sold over the four nights arrived in Melbourne in around 1,000 boxes on 50 pallets, all packed into two semi-trailers. The 29 different items for sale consisted of just over 57,000 t-shirts, 7,000 hoodies, 25,000 trinkets (wristbands, socks, key rings, etc.) and 16,000 official programs.

         Southern Cross Station External stand

Sarah Watson is the Staff Manager for Love Police ATM. She says that overall the Ed Sheeran concerts were one of the weirdest she has ever worked.

“It was an interesting show, as tickets were released in the order of Saturday and Sunday, then Monday, then Friday, so technically our first show’s crowd was the ‘stragglers’ who couldn’t get tickets to the first three, so we were expecting night two to be bigger than the first,” she explains.

“As it turns out, night three [Sunday] was much busier than both the first and second night, and we became the first city in the country to do over one million dollars in sales in one night.”

With a total of 197 different staff working over the four nights, each night saw about 130 people working.

“This was a fairly large number for one show, larger than other shows we have done in the past,” she said.

“However, not as many as Justin Bieber and Adele. Justin Bieber is still our record holding show, with over 180 staff for his one-night show in Melbourne.” 

The staff over the four days consisted mostly of sellers (approximately 100 staff), with a small number of people selling programs, and 20 support staff which included stock runners, tellers, cash collectors, storemen and management.

“This consisted of one stand at the front of Southern Cross Station, which served event goers as well as the general public who passed by, five external stands on the concourse, four stands on level one, five on level two and two stands on level three.”

In terms of specific sale items, the most popular product was the official event t-shirt, a black unisex top which had Ed’s trademark Divide logo on the front with the toured cities on the back.

“We got over 25,000 shirts in this style and had very small amounts left,” Sarah said.

A blue tie dye shirt in the same design also proved to be quite popular but it was the hoodie which sold out entirely before the show began on the final night.

“It (the hoodie) would have sold out on night three but we were instructed to hold some back to make sure we had some available for night four, as we couldn’t get more sent in.” 

After months of planning, weeks of setting up and just four nights of selling, the overall response to the Melbourne leg tour was bizarre.

“We were all expecting huge crowds, massive queues, non-stop selling from opening at 1PM until he came on the stage at 8:45PM.” she explains.

Instead, people were arriving in waves. Sales were consistent but the stands were never really under the pump, apart from a very busy period of about four-hours on night three.

 

Whilst Ed Sheeran didn’t end up taking the record for the most sales in one night, Sarah explains that he did in fact break another record.

“Justin Bieber holds our record for highest takings in one night, however four nights of Ed, he’s become our highest total takings for one artist.”

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