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Australia’s live entertainment industry suffers significantly

Australia’s live entertainment industry suffered a devastating loss of more than A$1.4bn (£770m/€911.5m/$1.06bn) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a report from Live Performance Australia has revealed. 

Ticket sales tumbled in 2020 following a record year in 2018 and a second-best year in 2019. In 2019, Australia’s live performance industry generated ticket sales of almost A$2bn. This was a slight decline of 4.8% compared to 2018.

However, 2020’s pandemic decimated ticket sales, which fell to A$600m. This is almost a 70% decline in sales. 

Around 7.8 million tickets were issued in 2020 – a 67.5% decline from 2019. Around seven million of those tickets were paid for (a decline from the 21.2m paid for tickets the year prior) and the remaining tickets were complimentary, zero priced tickets or allocated to sponsors. 

The report also details a decline in the average ticket price by 6.2% from A$92.89 in 2019 to A$87.14 in 2020. 

While total attendance had dropped by 7.5% in 2019 from 2018 to 23.9m, this plummeted by 67.5% to just 7.8m in 2020. 

Prior to the pandemic taking a grip on the world, circus and physical theatre witnessed the highest year-on-year revenue growth in the live entertainment sector (102.7%), in 2019. 

However, ballet and dance witnessed the largest year-on-year decline of 88.6% which was mostly driven by COVID-19 restrictions and limited touring ability. 

The report also noted that growth in revenue and attendance in any given year was mainly influenced by the increase in major tours coming to Australia, specifically international concert or comedy tours. 

Evelyn Richardson, chief executive of Live Performance Australia, at the start of the report said: “The 2019 and 2020 report shows that the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the Australian live performance industry has been unprecedented.”

Image: Rob Laughter on Unsplash