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#TBF20 Takeaway: Touring routes and risks

The UK’s live events industry’s bounce back will likely be spread across an 18-month period, which will create a more constant flow of supply while limiting the influx of demand.

That’s the view of Richard Buck, chief executive of TEG MJR, a live entertainment promoter owned by global integrated live entertainment, ticketing and technology business TEG.

Buck was speaking at last month’s TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2020 in a session in which he discussed the outlook and planning for a return to live events following a long period of pause for the sector due to COVID-19. Speaking alongside Jacqui Harris, director of commercial operations at AEG Presents UK, the two looked at what a return to touring might look like and some of the challenges facing them. Attendees can watch the session in full here.

As the pair of promoters are faced with the task of squeezing 18 months’ worth of concerts into a one-year period, Buck explained that many shows will have to be pushed out. However, he remains confident that the slow return will ultimately help TEG MJR from a market position.

He said: “We’ll have a really significant bounce back next year, but being conscious not to over-flood the market will mean that rebound will be slightly more consistent, rather than as a sharp rise and then a plateau or a decline – which I think will ultimately help us from a market position.”

Buck also pointed to the challenge of there likely being a few less venues with the closures of some of the more regionalised venues that have suffered huge losses due to the cancellation of live events for more than nine months.

The TEG MJR chief added that his “gut feeling” when predicting the return to full capacity shows was more towards the back end of 2021 – in quarter 3 or quarter 4. However, Harris said AEG Presents has already got several shows, though not at full capacity, pencilled in for April 2021.

Harris said she believes that there is a huge appetite to come back from the artists and fans alike when it’s safe to do so, but explains that such a move would not be for a few months.

When audiences finally return, she said: “I think you’ll have an audience of two halves. You’ll always have the ‘hot ticket’ which people will always buy no matter what.

“But I think people will be nervous until we see what the new normal is. There are so many unknowns at the minute. You don’t know what local guidelines will be, but on a more personal level you don’t know what your circumstances will be. Do you still have a job? Are you living with someone who is self isolating?

“What we’ve seen so far in terms of patterns on pricing and buying behaviour, surprisingly, I thought it would impact more, and we haven’t really seen that. But equally, there’s not a lot going on at the minute and people have that excitement about going back to a live event. So that may be deceiving the figures and sales that we’re seeing.”

Save the date: TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2021 takes place between 21-23 June, 2021…