US and UK markets ‘on track’ for Live Nation

Live Nation Entertainment chief executive Michael Rapino has underlined his optimism for the US and UK markets as event schedules fill up and pandemic-related restrictions continue to ease.

Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster, kicked off 30 nationwide tours at full capacity across the US last week, and will also stage the Rolling Loud festival in Miami later this month with around 200,000 attendees.

In an interview with CNBC, Rapino said that there will be between 10 and 15 music festivals taking place this summer in the US, with the European market opening up more later this year before Asia returns properly early next year.

“We’re very excited about the American market,” Rapino said. “You know, 70% of our business is going to be the US and the UK. Those two markets seem on track. In America, we’re fully open at this point.”

He added that Live Nation would not avoid squeezing too many events into the schedule to make up for lost time.

“We’re going to make sure that we don’t… give them four shows in one week and you’ve got to pick one,” he said.

“We’ll spread those over a couple of years and a couple of markets. So we look at the pent-up demand as lots of availability, but we’re also going to make sure the consumer has time to buy it.”

Rapino, who expects virtual concerts to serve mostly as a “complementary product” to live shows, also said that the company had focused on technological developments during the pandemic.

“We used Covid to do a lot of rebuilding infrastructure programs, [the] product around Ticketmaster, but contactless was a big piece we accelerated,” he added. “You’ll now go to venues and you’ll be able to get in that venue, buy your ticket, buy that beer, buy that T-shirt contactless through your app through the web.”

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