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Live Nation sees steep losses in ticketing and overall revenue in Q2

Live Nation has reported a 98 per cent fall in its second-quarter revenue year-on-year in 2020, with refunds forcing ticketing revenue down to negative $86m.

In comparison, ticketing revenue in 2019 for the live entertainment giant, which usually puts on the bulk of its festival season along with summer tours for major artists in Q2, was $371m.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the entire live events industry hard, which can be clearly seen in Live Nation’s earnings report that highlights a 95 per cent fall in revenue for its concert division to $141.8m versus about $2.6bn for the same quarter a year ago.

Ticketmaster’s parent company claims that 86 per cent of consumers are retaining their tickets, whereas festivals are only achieving 66 per cent. Live Nation implemented a 30-day refund window for cancelled events in April following a barrage of complaints about denied refunds for events that had been postponed with no new dates due to COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Live Nation claims it has already sold 19 million tickets across 4,000 festivals and concerts for 2021.

The firm has experimented with concepts like drive-in concerts and virtual shows, though chief executive Michael Rapino only mentioned the latter in the earnings report.

He said: “In the second quarter, we had 67 million fans view over 18 thousand concerts and festivals globally. Among our highlights, this past weekend we streamed 150 performances for our Virtual Lollapalooza Festival.”

Earlier this week, the company’s credit agreement was amended to further suspend its maintenance covenant until December 31, 2021 if it chooses, replacing it with a minimum liquidity test of $500m, which is measured against the company’s free cash, available debt capacity, and up to $250m of event-related deferred revenue.

The company said it believes this level of liquidity and associated burn rates, along with credit actions, “provide it with the ability to fund operations until the expected return of concerts at scale in the summer of 2021, preceded by ticket sales earlier in the year.”

Rapino said: “Over the past three months, our top priority has been strengthening our financial position to ensure that we have the liquidity and flexibility to get through an extended period with no live events. Our expectation is that live events will return at scale in the summer of 2021, with ticket sales ramping up in the quarters leading up to these shows.”

However, the company’s disclaimer said it “wishes to caution you that there are some known and unknown factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results.”

Live Nation has also put on socially distanced shows when and where permitted, including New Zealand, France, Denmark, Spain, Germany and Finland, as well as several cities across the United States.