How Bad Bunny Staged His Record-Setting Stadium Tour: 36 Trucks, a Cargo Jet & 100 Tons of Equipment

How Bad Bunny Staged His Record-Setting Stadium Tour: 36 Trucks, a Cargo Jet & 100 Tons of Equipment

Few things can stop Noah Assad s manager. Even he admits that it was quite daunting to launch a stadium tour three months after an arena tour.

“We knew it would be a learning experience and something that none of us had ever done before,” Assad now says. “But we went for it and worked through the process with the help of old partners and set new industry standards .”

Bad Bunny ends the year as the top touring act of 2022, grossing $373.5 million from 1.8 million tickets across 65 shows, according to Billboard Boxscore, and that number doesn’t even include his last 20 Latin American stadium shows. Bunny, a Brazilian-born act, is now the first to reach the top of the year’s end tally without performing in English.

World’s Hottest Tour broke venue revenue records in 12 of the 15 U.S. markets that it hit, including Chicago and Washington, D.C., and New York, where he played Yankee Stadium. All told, the North American leg of tour averaged $11.1 million per show – the biggest per-show average gross by any artist in any genre in Boxscore history (dating back to the late 1980s).

Bunny also became the only artist to ever launch separate tours each topping $100 million in the same calendar year. His stadium tour launched after he played his 35-date El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo, an arena tour that earned $116.8 million from 35 shows.

How is it possible for an artist who records only in Spanish and has been in the market for five years to achieve this feat, even though he is signed to an independent label. To find out, Billboard spoke with agents, promoters and producers to piece together the ingredients of Bunny’s spectacular touring success.

The seeds for World’s Hottest Tour, which ends with sold out shows Friday (Dec. 9) and Saturday (Dec. 10) at Mexico city’s Estadio Azteca, were sown April 15, 2021, when tickets went on sale for Bunny’s April 2022 arena tour. The tour sold out in a matter of hours, says Jbeau Lewis, one of Bunny’s agents at UTA, with some 200,000 to 300,000 people in virtual queue in individual arenas trying to score tickets, and it became clear how much demand there was for Bad Bunny concerts.

Lewis recalls Noah having a conversation that day. He said, “We have to hold some stadiums next year.” “And knowing that the tour was nine months away and Benito had plans for more music, the only way we could provide enough supply to satisfy the demand was to move into larger venues. That’s when we began to work on it .”

Last year Assad signed on with Henry Cardenas of Cardenas Marketing Network (CMN), Bunny’s longtime promoter who was already doing his arena tour who’d been booking him since he played 1,000-people club shows back in 2017 and 2018 in cites like New York and Miami. Cardenas brought in Live Nation who has extensive experience in stadiums as his partners in the U.S .

The biggest problem in the U.S. was not selling out stadiums. Lewis felt confident that this wouldn’t be a problem if they stayed in the markets where Bunny was most popular. Scheduling was the problem, given that the tour was being booked just 15-16 months in advance, and MLB and NFL teams already had dates locked down. Bunny and Assad insisted that he only play two dates per city so that fans wouldn’t believe that one market is better than the other.

In the end, they settled on 15 U.S. cities and tickets went on sale before the tour design even was finalized, something tour producer Roly Garbalosa says is unusual. “Normally, for a tour this large, you design, then search for the markets. But not here. We just went .”

Bad Bunny took to the road on Aug. 5 with a huge production, hauling his massive “beach”, palm trees, LED screens, and all the contraptions necessary for his flying stunt. Bunny flies over the crowd and climbs onto a small island with a Palm Tree. While a typical tour will take about 20 cargo trucks, Bunny traveled with up to 36, carrying 100 tons of equipment. While CMN and Live Nation promoted the entire U.S. tour, CMN took control of seven Latin America concerts. Other promoters were chosen by Assad, who has worked with them in the past. These included Bizarro in Chile and Westwood Entertainment in Mexico. Dale Play in Argentina was also selected.

Fede ,, the founder of Dale Play who promoted Bunny’s two shows at Velez Sarsfield Stadium (Buenos Aires), says “Noah has a Code of Honor.” “I promoted Benito’s first tour here in Luna Park in 2016. It was the largest production I have ever done. We sold 90,000 tickets, but I would have sold 900,000. In half an hour, we sold out. Over a million people were waiting in line to buy tickets .”

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Bunny insisted that he only show two shows per city for Latin America. Bunny also demanded that his show be identical to what he saw in the U.S. This is not an easy task. Usually, promoters will pay artists their guarantee and local production costs. Bunny could not rely on local production to perform such a complex show. Many venues and countries don’t have the necessary equipment to replicate what is possible in state-of the-art stadiums in America. Local promoters often can’t afford to import production and still make a profit, especially in countries suffering from severe devaluation. So, instead of modifying the show to meet local production standards, “He took all his equipment, put it inside a 747 jet, and took it with him,” Cardenas says. He paid for the .”

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Garbalosa says that adjustments were needed even then. Bunny’s flying stunt is often done by hooking the equipment to the towers and lights. Garbalosa says that many stadiums in Latin America lack this capability. “We had to rent cranes and put them outside the stadium.”

Bunny traveled through Latin America with the 747 cargo jet for his more than 100 tons of equipment; a passenger jet for his 130-plus crew and personnel and a private jet for himself and his immediate five-to-six-person team. He paid for all of those expenses.

Cardenas says, “No other artist does this.” I will tell it plain English: He is the only artist to invest that much money in Latin America .”

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This decision means that the artist will make less money. The U.S. shows make more due to higher ticket prices and lower production costs.

Cardenas states, “But he said that my fans deserve the same show.” It will pay off in future .”

It could be said that it is already paying off in some ways.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” adds Garbalosa, the production manager. “I have never worked with an artist that creates such frenzy ,” Garbalosa, the production manager, said.

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