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Michael Rapino: ‘We’re headed for a record year’

The Live Nation president and CEO says the company already has 85 tours booked for 2023 to meet pent-up demand

By James Hanley on 08 Jul 2022

Live Nation Q2 results

Michael Rapino


Live Nation boss Michael Rapino says the promoter remains on track for back-to-back record years.

Fresh from inking a five-year contract extension with LN running to 2027, Rapino told CNBC’s Power Lunch the company was not seeing any “recessionary trends” regarding ticket sales.

“We’re not, we’ve had such pent-up demand, in Europe, America, Australia and we’re headed for a record year right now, as of this weekend,” he said. “I checked all our latest data: people are showing up – 90% rates – our ticket sales are double digits over 2019.

“One factor we like to see is what are they spending on site, and those are up 25% since 2019, which was a record year. We’re seeing record levels… [fans] are coming to have fun and drink and enjoy the night.”

The LN president and CEO added that the forecast for next year was equally as encouraging.

“We’re looking at 2023 right now, with about 85 tours booked, and that would put us on [course for] another record year,” he said. “Overall, historically, concerts are an 8-9% growth business and we think that’s going to continue. So we don’t think there’s an air pocket, we think we’re going to be back to a continual growth business as we have for the last 30 years.”

“A concert ticket is still really affordable – the average ticket price is $35”

Rapino also defended the promoting giant – whose Ticketmaster division’s sales were up 36% on the same period in 2019 in Q1 2022 – against claims of high ticket prices.

“The top end ticket always gets the press, but a concert ticket is still really affordable – the average ticket price is $35,” he said. “You can’t have a dinner for that, you certainly can’t go to a Lakers [NBA] game. So of all entertainment options, it’s affordable.

“Now, ticket prices at the top that have gone up. But that’s to make sure that the artist starts to participate in some of that pricing dynamic versus the secondary market. You look today and the market is still hot on the secondary business, which would indicate pricing still is below market. But we still believe that the artist should gather more of the upfront costs. We also think making it affordable is right.”

Rapino has served as CEO of Live Nation since its formation in 2005, when it was spun off (initially as CCE SpinCo, Inc.) from Clear Channel, where he was president of global music. He became president and CEO of the newly formed Live Nation Entertainment in 2010, when Live Nation merged with Ticketmaster.

 


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