Eric Church’s Double Down tour features a Friday and Saturday night performance in a different city every week. (Getty Images)

Eric Church began 2019 with the launch of his Double Down tour that spans the first half of the year booked for two-night engagements at venues in 18 North American cities. Generally, the tour schedule features a Friday and Saturday performance in a different city every week. Although most of the shows will be staged in arenas, the country superstar added a stadium date, May 25 at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium, as part of Memorial Day weekend. As he did on the Holdin’ My Own trek in 2017, Church will forgo opening acts and perform marathon sets for each show, drawing from his six studio albums.

The first five dates on Church’s 2019 tour all rank among the 10 highest-grossing Hot Tickets this month in the category for venues with more than 15,000 seats. His two-show stand at Target Center in Minneapolis, No. 3 on the chart, generated the largest gross among the five based on $3.5 million earned from 30,426 sold seats during the fourth weekend of the trek (Feb. 8-9). It also establishes a new gross record for Church among all his solo headlining concerts reported to Pollstar since the beginning of his career. Plus, the other four dates on Hot Tickets also surpass his old gross record set in May 2017 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena during Holdin’ My Own. That two-show gig took in $2.5 million from sellout crowds on both nights.

Based on the five shows that have already occurred, overall box office sales from the Double Down tour could potentially land near the $60 million mark by June 28-29, the last of the two-night weekend engagements on the tour itinerary. The result would top Church’s 2017 tour, which grossed $52.8 million from far more shows — 61 compared with the 37 performances planned for this year’s run. The average number of sold seats per show this year registers at 14,893 so far early in the jaunt. It’s moderately higher than Holdin’ My Own’s 14,166 per show average, but the current top ticket price is $139 — 56 percent higher than the prior tour’s top ticket, which averaged around $89.

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New York City’s Madison Square Garden reigns No. 1 on Hot Tickets based on a sold ticket count of 109,966 during the Jan. 16-Feb. 15 period of eligibility for this month’s charts. Sixty-six percent of that total comes from one engagement: comedian Sebastian Maniscalco’s four-show stint at the Manhattan arena on Jan. 19-20 that drew 72,960 fans. With an $8.2 million take, it’s also the highest-grossing event on Hot Tickets in the largest venue category. Nashville-based Outback Concerts was the promoter for the Maniscalco event in New York.

– Bob Allen