Vivid Seats doubles earnings during strong start to 2023

Photo by Chris Zhang on Unsplash

Vivid Seats has raised its financial projections for the coming year after earnings more than doubled in the first three months of 2023.

The ticket exchange platform, which is traded on the NYSE and NASDAQ, said marketplace gross order value (MGOV) was up 15% year-on-year to $855.5m during the three months to March 31. Vivid Seats said the figure, which represents the total transactional amount of marketplace segment orders placed on its platform, was negatively impacted by event cancellations in the amount of $12.1m, although this was well down on the $34.8m recorded in Q1 2022.

Stan Chia, Vivid Seats’ chief executive, said the growth indicated the strength of the live events sector and was in part due to the success of Vivid Seats’ loyalty programme.

He said: “We are off to an excellent start in 2023. The live event environment was robust in the first quarter with exciting event supply meeting exuberant fan demand.

“It is clear sustained gains stem from providing differentiated product, service and value and we are thrilled to see our investments yielding results. Driven by our investments in our loyalty program and a differentiated buyer experience, repeat orders as a percentage of total orders placed on Vivid Seats have increased to 56% in 2022 from 47% in 2018.

“As part of our continued focus on innovating the buyer experience, we are excited to announce free-to-play games in the Vivid Seats app, powered by Vivid Picks, offering our users daily challenges with the chance to win free tickets.”

Total marketplace orders of 2.3 million were up on 2.0 million in the prior period. These represent the volume of marketplace segment orders placed on the platform during a period, net of event cancellations that occurred during that period.

Vivid Seats revenues of $161.1m were up 23% year-on-year. Adjusted EBITDA of $42.4m was 102% up on Q1 2022, with outgoings such as marketing and payroll remaining fairly static despite the significant uptick in business.

Following the trading update, Vivid Seats said it now expects MGOV in the range of $3.15-3.40bn, compared to an original assessment of $3.0-3.3bn. Revenues are now expected to be in the range of $605.0-630.0m, increased from $580.0-610.0m. Adjusted EBITDA are now projected to be in the range of $115.0-130.0m, which is up on $110.0-115.0m.

Lawrence Fey, Vivid Seats’ chief financial officer, said: “We delivered an exceptional quarter and we are raising our 2023 guidance to account for our strong performance and improving visibility into the remainder of the year.

“Q1 2023 Revenue was up 23% year-over-year as we benefitted from a robust March event calendar.  Q1 Adjusted EBITDA of $42m was up over 100% versus last year as a result of robust topline growth, loyalty efficiencies and timing of marketing investments.

“We are also pleased that our profitability converted into strong cash flow in Q1 with our cash balance growing $52m relative to our year-end balance despite purchasing the remaining $8m of shares available under our share repurchase authorisation. Our robust profitability and cash flow continues to provide us numerous pathways to build long-term value.”

Vivid Seats’ encouraging performance comes days after Live Nation announced it had seen a record 19.5 million attend its events and revenues up by more than 70% during a strong start to 2023.

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