Live Nation breaks record quarter as touring business booms

Live Nation set records for concert revenue and ticket sales in the third quarter of 2022 as the touring industry continued its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Third-quarter revenue was $6.2 billion, up 66.8% from the same period in 2019, while adjusted operating income rose 45% to $621 million, the company announced Thursday (Nov. 3).

“Fans around the world continue to prioritize their spending on live events, especially concerts,” said the president and CEO Michael Rapinoe in a statement. “Despite varying economic headwinds, including inflation, we have seen no decline in demand as on-site sales, on-site consumption, advertising and all other operating metrics continue to show strong year-over-year growth.”

The concert division achieved its highest quarterly attendance ever with 44 million fans at 11,000 events, generating $5 billion in revenue and $281 million in adjusted operating income (AOI), up 67% and 44%, respectively, from the same period in 2019. Demand was strong at across all types of venues and markets. Stadium attendance tripled to almost 9 million as many top artists, e.g Bad rabbit (the highest-grossing Latin tour in Boxscore history), Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Weekndtook advantage of the strong fan demand by performing in the larger venues.

Ticketmaster also had a record quarter by delivering its highest fee-bearing gross transaction value of $7.3 billion, up 62% over the same period in 2019. Ticket revenue was $343 million, up 96.7% year-over-year and 36.8% greater than the same period in 2019. Ticketing’s AOI of $163.2 million was down 5% year-over-year but up 28.2% over the third quarter of 2019.

Ticketmaster has made headlines because some artists – namely Bruce Springsteen and Blink 182 — opted for dynamic pricing that charged more for the best seats. The practice may frustrate some fans, but Live Nation expects to transfer over $550 million to artists through higher primary ticket prices — value that might otherwise have been captured in the secondary ticket market.

Sponsorship and advertising revenue increased 59.4% to $343 million due to Live Nation’s festivals and Ticketmaster platform integration. The high-margin segment’s AOI of $226.2 million was 103.4% better year-over-year and 69.8% higher than the same period in 2019. Confirmed sponsorship revenue for 2023 is up 30% year-over-year for a years ago.

Through September, additional fan spending at US theaters increased 30%. “The overarching theme is that fans are eager to enhance their experience as we continue to elevate our hospitality operations and offer more premium options,” Rapino said.

Looking ahead, the busy touring season will continue into 2023 and consumer demand looks set to remain strong despite widespread fears of an impending recession and tightening budgets due to persistent inflation. “Ticket sales for 2023 shows are going even stronger than they were heading into 2022, up double-digits year-over-year, excluding sales from rescheduled shows,” Rapino said. Through the third quarter, Ticketmaster sold over 115 million, an increase of 37% compared to the same period in 2019.

Financial measurements

  • Total revenue: $6.2 billion, up 63.TK% from 2019
  • Adjusted operating income: $621 million, up 45% from 2019
  • Concert revenue: $5.29 billion, up 66.8% from 2019
  • Box office receipts: $531.6 million, up 36.8% from 2019
  • Sponsorships and advertising: $343 million, up 59.4% from 2019

Fan metrics

  • North American concerts; 8,261, an increase of 14% from 2019
  • International concerts: 2,958, up 57.4% from 2019
  • North American fans: 29.1 million, up 27.7% from 2019
  • International fans: 15.2 million, up 71.9% from 2019
  • Fee-bearing tickets: 73.4 million, up 32.7% from 2019

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