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Live Nation returns to profitability in Q2 2021

LN was $12.4m in the black in April–June 2021 as fans snapped up tickets ahead of the resumption of live activity later in the year

By Jon Chapple on 04 Aug 2021

More than 750,000 people attended LN's Lollapalooza (pictured), Rolling Loud and Latitude festivals in 2021

More than 750,000 people attended Lollapalooza (pictured), Rolling Loud and Latitude in 2021


Live Nation beat its own earnings expectations in the second financial quarter of 2021, reporting a huge jump in year-on-year revenue and a return to profitability after the most difficult 16 months in the company’s history.

In the three months ending 30 June 2021, the concert giant grew its turnover from US$74.1 million to $575.9m – a more than 677% increase – posted adjusted operating income of $9.7m, or $12.4m on a constant-currency basis, reveals the company’s Q2 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The growth, says LN, was driven by “roaring demand” for ticket sales ahead of widespread reopenings this summer and autumn, with Ticketmaster North America having its fourth-best month ever as global ticketing revenues climbed to $244m (from -$87m in Q2 2020). Ticketmaster issued 11m cost-bearing tickets in the six months leading to 30 June.

The number of shows is also up in the double digits for 2022 compared to 2019, indicating the huge “pent-up demand” for live entertainment, says Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, and with it the value of the company’s sponsorship commitments.

“As communities reopen, we’re seeing the pent-up demand for live events play out as artists and fans are eager to reconnect in person,” Rapino comments. “In the US and UK, we are seeing strong ticket sales and the restart of our concerts and festivals, highlighted over the past weekends by Lollapalooza and Rolling Loud in the US and Latitude in the UK hosting a combined three quarters of a million fans. With vaccine roll-outs increasing throughout Canada and Europe, we expect additional markets to open more broadly in the coming months.

“All our leading indicators continue to point to a roaring era for concerts and other live events”

“The momentum for the return to live events has been building every month, with ticket sales and concert attendance pacing faster than expected, underscoring the strength and resiliency of the concert business and live events in general.

“This progress, combined with our cost discipline, has enabled us to deliver positive adjusted operating income for the second quarter, well ahead of where we thought we would for this quarter. We expect to see further ramp-up accelerate through the rest of the year, with improving operating income and all segments returning to adjusted operating income profitability for the second half of the year, setting us up for a full-scale 2022.”

“Looking forward to 2022, and now also 2023, all our leading indicators continue to point to a roaring era for concerts and other live events. Starting with our concerts division, every major venue type – arenas, amphitheaters, and stadiums – have pipelines indicating double digit growth in show count and ticket sales relative to 2019 levels,” he adds.

Live Nation’s latest financials follow comments made by Rapino in a recent interview with podcaster Bob Lefsetz, in which he said the financial markets are also preparing for a boom time for live music in 2022 and beyond.

 


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