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Live Nation scores biggest summer season yet

"The demand is there if you price it smart," says CEO Michael Rapino after the promoter's Q3 revenue increased to $6.2 billion

By James Hanley on 04 Nov 2022

Live Nation Q2 results

Michael Rapino


Live Nation has delivered its biggest summer concert season in history, with Q3 revenue up 63% on pre-pandemic levels to $6.2 billion.

The company’s operating income for the period rose 95% to $506 million, while reported AOI increased 45% to $621m as it achieved its highest quarterly attendance ever with over 44 million fans across 11,000 events.

In addition, its Ticketmaster business transacted $6.7bn of fee-generating GTV on 71m tickets, up 69% and 42% respectively, relative to Q3 2019, while sponsorship had another record quarter, droving AOI of $226m – 56% higher than Q3 2019.

“Clearly 2022 has been an incredible year of returning to live events, and we expect it to finish strong”

“Clearly 2022 has been an incredible year of returning to live events, and we expect it to finish strong,” says Live Nation chief Michael Rapino. “Ticket sales for concerts this year were up 34% for the quarter, and now stand at over 115 million tickets sold for shows this year, up 37% from this point in 2019.

“More importantly, momentum is strong with early signs pointing to continued growth in 2023 across our businesses. Ticket sales for shows in 2023 are pacing even stronger than they were heading into 2022, up double-digits year-over-year, excluding sales from rescheduled shows. In our sponsorship business, confirmed commitments are up 30% from this time last year, showing the resiliency and long-term commitments that brands have for our business.

“Beyond these specific leading indicators, going into 2023, we expect we will drive growth in our concert business by adding more venues to our operated portfolio, continue increasing ancillary per fan revenue and further our efforts to deliver market value for the show to artists. And in ticketing, we expect to benefit from these market pricing trends, while also continuing to globally add new clients to our world-class platform.”

“I look at our top artists we’ve had this year – Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Bad Bunny, Morgan Wallen, The Weeknd, Olivia Rodrigo – and these are all artists that are at the early stages of their career”

Fan count at stadiums more than tripled to nearly nine million, driven by global demand for artists such as as Bad Bunny, The Weeknd and Red Hot Chili Peppers. And speaking to investors, Live Nation CFO Joe Berchtold says the firm is not reliant on heritage acts.

“I look at our top artists we’ve had this year – Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Bad Bunny, Morgan Wallen, The Weeknd, Olivia Rodrigo – and these are all artists that are at the early stages of their career. These are tremendous talents that are just showing the breadth of supply that we have in our business.

“Our sales for next year are up double digits. We’re most up in stadiums which, by their definition, are going to be the largest artists that can sell the most tickets. So that would indicate we are off to a good quality start.”

“A concert ticket is still a really affordable ticket. The majority of the tickets are sold are $50 to $75

Rapino projects that 2023 will be “a similar year in terms of quality” and says the imminent sale for Taylor Swift’s 2023 US tour was “probably going to break all records” for Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan scheme.

“Artists are seeing the demand is there if you price it smart and you have got the right markets,” he says. “We are not feeling the demand from inflation or ‘23 pressures that are driving strategy. It’s just overall us being better at what we do today than we were last year and the year before on pricing strategy per market by artist for territory.

“A concert ticket is still a really affordable ticket. The majority of the tickets are sold are $50 to $75. So, although we have a great premium business… we’re seeing demand strong on all levels. Whether it’s a $19 ticket, it’s filling up the clubs or the premium at the stadiums and arenas. So we do think we have something for everyone.”

“We don’t believe there will be any impact whatsoever if there was a nationwide mandate for all-in pricing”

Berchtold and Rapino also reiterate LN’s backing of US president Joe Biden’s call for transparency around ticketing fees, having endorsed a law passed in New York this summer requiring ticket sellers to share all fees upfront.

“We don’t believe there will be any impact whatsoever if there was a nationwide mandate for all-in pricing,” says Berchtold. “We think it makes sense. It just has to be done collectively at the same time… So I think that we will work with the FTC. We will work with the DA in the State of New York, and we’re very supportive of that and some other shifts to make ticketing more transparent and a better consumer experience.”

“We tend to do better as regulation comes into play in this space,” adds Rapino. “A lot of our business has been chasing the secondary business for years that’s kind of unregulated. We would love spec selling to be outlawed. We’d love better rules on bot ticketing. We love all-in pricing. We’re adhering to all-in pricing in New York right now.

“I think we’re probably the only ticketing company actually adhering to those regulations right now. So we like sunlight coming to the business… Most of the noise is generated from the secondary business. So we love regulation, it puts us on an equal footing.”

 


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