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Live Nation revenue soars in Q1 with return of live music

Live Nation Entertainment has claimed a best first quarter ever as revenue “greatly surpassed” expectations, according to president and chief executive, Michael Rapino.

The live entertainment giant, which also owns ticketing platform Ticketmaster, posted revenue of $1.8bn (£1.5bn/€1.7bn) in the three months to March 31, up from $290m in the same COVID-19-hit period in 2021.

Concerts represented revenue of $1.2bn in the first quarter, while ticketing accounted for $480m. Revenue from sponsorship and advertising brought in $115m in the first quarter.

Live Nation also posted an operating income loss of $27m in the first quarter, and an adjusted operating income (AOI) loss of $209m. This accounted for concerts, ticketing, sponsorship and advertising, corporate and other eliminations. However, the operating income loss is an improvement on the $303m in the first quarter of last year. 

The company has credited Ticketmaster’s strong first quarter performance, as well as more artists returning to touring. 

In the three months, an estimated gross transactional volume of 111, 292 tickets were sold by Ticketmaster, compared to the 17,151 sold during the same period the year prior. This segment of the business added seven million net new tickets in the first quarter. 

There were an estimated 6,607 concerts in the three months, compared to 668 concerts held in the same period last year. Some 4,716 of these events were held in North America, while 1,891 were held Internationally. In the first quarter of last year, only 304 were held in North America and 364 were held Internationally. 

In his statement accompanying the financial results, Rapino said: “Momentum has picked up for all of our businesses over the course of the first quarter, and as a result, we delivered financial performance that greatly surpassed our previous expectations.”

Rapino also discussed forward momentum, as ticket sales were at a record level in Q1, with sales reaching almost 20 million more than at the same stage in 2019. The company will look to focus on building Venue Nation, a platform of operated venues, with a “pipeline of 20 venues, including the recently opened Moody’s Center arena in Austin, in addition to adding 38 more festivals this year,” said Rapino.

Some 70 million tickets have been sold for shows in 2022, which is up 36% compared to the same period in 2019, though the show count is up 44% relative to 2019. Around 11 million fans attended Live Nation shows compared to 15 million in Q1 in 2019, though Rapino said “this was expected as we planned for limited concert activity in the early months of the year to allow for markets to open”.

Image: Live Nation Entertainment