Despite the Covid-19 crisis, the German live entertainment group capped its losses at €300,000 in the first half of the year due to cost-cutting and insurance payouts
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The WME parent's strong Q1 was down to its owned sports franchises, though CEO Ari Emanuel also sees light on the horizon for Endeavor's music booking business
By Jon Chapple on 03 Jun 2021
WME parent company Endeavor posted a small profit of US$2.4 million in the first quarter of 2021, its Q1 financial results – the firm’s first since becoming a public company in April – reveal.
Endeavor, which also owns the IMG sports agency and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), among other properties, increased its net income from the -$51.3m it reported for the same period last year. Revenue for Q1 2021 totalled $1.07 billion, down slightly from the $1.19bn in Q1 2020, while operating income came to $94.5m, up from $53.8m year on year.
Speaking during yesterday (2 June)’s earnings call, Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel noted that the growth was driven primarily by its ‘owned sports properties’ segment – one of three business units, along with representation (ie the agencies) and events, experiences and rights – which saw revenues rise 22%, to $283.5m. This segment comprises UFC, Professional Bull Riders (PBR) and Euroleague basketball.
Other significant Covid-era demand is coming from its events and experience business, which includes corporate hospitality firm On Location (acquired just before the pandemic), which was recently named global hospitality provider of the Olympic Games.
The representation unit (comprising WME, IMG and Endeavor Content) continues to be hit by restrictions on events, registering a 15% dip in year-on-year revenue, to $248.9m.
“Artists of all kinds are desperate to get back out and tour”
However, booking agency WME is seeing “brisk ticket sales for upcoming concerts,” explained Emanuel. “The pre-sale for the first event of On Location’s Mexico-based beach concert series, featuring WME client Dead and Company, sold out both its January 2022 weekend dates, and the next event featuring WME client Luke Bryan had its fastest sell-out in its seven year history.”
While live music hasn’t “done exactly a 180, we have high demand, coupled with favourable pricing and yield, and artists of all kinds are desperate to get back out and tour, to see, to greet their fans,” Emanuel added.
“We are locking down major arena tours for 2022 – and to make up for a year away from performing live, many of these tours are multi-year, spanning broad territories across North and South America, Europe and Asia.”
WME artists include Drake, Justin Timberlake, Adele, Bruno Mars, Pearl Jam, Kendrick Lamar, the Killers, Bjork, Frank Ocean, Foo Fighters, St Vincent, Shakira and more.
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