Live Music

UK sees increased live entertainment ticket sales following pandemic closures

Featured Image: Claus Grünstäudl on Unsplash

Last year saw the most tickets ever sold for live entertainment in the UK, according to research from Virgin Media O2. 

The research from O2 and its Priority Tickets platform showed that there was a 43% increase in sales compared to 2019, the last full year unimpacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The platform also experienced a 50% increase in visits. Through partnerships with entertainment giants AEG and Live Nation, O2 provided its Priority members with 48-hour early access to tickets across 5,000 events and 300 venues in the UK including The O2 in London and O2 Academy venues UK-wide.

“2022 truly was the return of live entertainment with millions of tickets sold at thousands of events right across the UK,” said Gareth Griffiths, director of partnerships and sponsorship at Virgin Media O2. “Through our 48-hour early access to Priority Tickets for O2 and Virgin Media customers, we provide an exclusive gateway for fans of live music, comedy, sport and entertainment to experience and capture unforgettable live moments. 2023 is already shaping up to be even bigger, with The O2 and our 20 O2 Academy venues packed out.”

As well as insights from Priority, Virgin Media O2 commissioned new research which demonstrated that the appetite for live entertainment was here to stay. Despite the cost-of-living crisis, the research found that 64% of Brits would cut back on other costs to prioritise spending on live entertainment. Nine in 10 also said that live entertainment was their favourite pastime.

According to data from O2 and Priority, the most popular events last year included Peter Kay’s new stand-up tour, and concerts from artists such as The Weeknd, Sam Fender, Harry Styles, Chris Brown and Bruce Springsteen.

Jim Campling, president of Live Nation UK’s marketing partnerships, said: “We’ve had the privilege of working closely with O2 since 2005 and are proud of the value Priority Tickets has created for O2 and their customers.

“Whether customers live in London, Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool or anywhere else in the UK, O2 Priority is a strong rewards programme that creates relevant, tangible benefits for customers and communities across the country. We look forward to supporting O2 on providing meaningful ways to engage Priority members as live entertainment continues to be a cherished part of people’s lives.”

Paul Samuels, executive vice-president at AEG Global Partnerships, added: “2022 was an incredible year for The O2 – from celebrating our 15th birthday, to hosting 10 nights of Queen + Adam Lambert and the Laver Cup, with Roger Federer’s final professional match.

“It’s clear that the demand for live entertainment and seeing world-class acts perform remains really strong even in the current economic climate and this is something which is reflected in the ticket sale trends that we’ve seen, with numbers continuing to grow even more in 2023 with the likes of Madonna and Mickey Flanagan being announced. We’re proud to have a naming-rights partner who prioritises the fan experience as much as we do through platforms such as Priority, and are looking forward to a bigger and better 2023 at the world’s most popular venue.”