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Live Nation hails biggest Q1 in company history

"Fan demand has never been stronger," says Michael Rapino after the promoter posted its latest set of record results

By James Hanley on 06 May 2022

Live Nation's Michael Rapino is backing MITC's ‘Touring and Mental Health Manual’ and Tour Support for World Mental Health Day 2019

Michael Rapino


Live Nation boss Michael Rapino says the company’s Q1 business “greatly surpassed” expectations after delivering its best Q1 performance ever.

The promoter recorded operating income of $27 million and AOI of $209m for the first three months of the year, while its Ticketmaster division posted another record quarter, with big growth in operating revenue, AOI and transacted GTV compared with the last pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Sponsorship operating income and AOI were also up 83% and 75%, respectively, on three years ago.

“Artists are back on the road and fan demand has never been stronger”

“Momentum has picked up for all of our businesses over the course of the first quarter,” Rapino told investors during yesterday’s earnings call. “And as a result, we have delivered financial performance that greatly surpassed our previous expectations with AOI of $209 million.

“Artists are back on the road and fan demand has never been stronger. The reflection of live events remain a clear priority for consumers as our social lives restart.”

Ticketmaster reported sales of 70 million tickets for its 2022 concerts – up 36% compared to the same point in 2019, and Rapino said all leading indicators pointed towards double-digit growth and fan attendance for LN over the course of the year.

“Ticket sales were at record levels in Q1 with momentum building over February and March,” he said. “We sold almost 20 million more tickets to our concerts this year in this point in time in 2019, with large number of tours still to go on sale and concert fans are showing no sign of slowing down.

“Ticket buying serves as a leading indicator to our overall business. Ticketmaster’s strong first quarter performance drove the company’s overall profitability and shows how well our concert and sponsorship businesses are positioned to deliver record results this year.

“Despite some markets taking longer to reopen, the quarter was our second highest ever we transacted GTV, excluding refunds, trailing only Q4 2021 with March being our highest transacted GTV month ever.”

He added: “Our sponsorship activity fully returned in Q1, delivering financial results that well exceeded 2019. We’re seeing growth across a number of dimensions, expansion of existing relationships, new categories expanding our breadth to partners and new ad units being created both onsite and online.”

“We continue to build our flywheel with over 70 million tickets now sold for shows in 2022”

Rapino also referenced the firm’s partnerships with brands such as Verizon and Snap.

“Much of our focus with brand partners is how we collectively elevate the fan experience. We’ve had great success with this in recent years. And so far this year through our partnership with Verizon, we started powering our Venues with cutting edge 5G connectivity and are launching initiative with Snap to give artists augmented reality capabilities at shows and festivals.

“But more importantly, we continue to build our flywheel with over 70 million tickets now sold for shows in 2022, up to 36 million, compared to 2019 and committed show count is up 44% through the end of April, relative to 19%, setting us up for continued ticket sales over the year.

“We have over 60 tours already under discussion for 2023, our earliest indicators of next year in great positioning for ongoing growth.”

I continue to expect this just to be the start of our run”

Rapino said the no-show rate at gigs – a common complaint the first few months after the restart – had returned to normal levels.

“We’re seeing no challenges at all,” he said. “People are showing up to the shows. We are showing similar to 2018, ’19, your regular low digit no-show rate of people that don’t make it to the show. But back to normal, people come and drum to those shows no issues at all in terms of showing up.”

He added that while the US and UK had driven much of the company’s activity over the past year, the rest of the world was now rapidly opening up.

“Both Latin America and Western Europe are expected to have record attendance for our concerts this year,” he concluded. “I continue to expect this just to be the start of our run, the global addressable markets for concerts, ticketing and sponsorship, all provide a long runway for continued growth.”

 


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