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Live Nation boss upbeat again as Q1 financials published

By | Published on Friday 6 May 2022

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Live Nation was very upbeat indeed yesterday as it published its financials for the first quarter of 2022.

“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, with operating income of $27 million and annual operating income of $209 million”, top man Michael Rapino wrote in a note to investors.

Of course the wider live music business is still very much in recovery mode following the COVID pandemic, with some COVID regulations still in force in some countries at the start of the year, and the possibility of COVID infections within a tour crew causing last minute cancellations still a risk.

And while there is a definite demand from some consumers to get back to shows and festivals, there is still a sense that – with some fans – some nervousness remains about attending packed out venues, or at least about committing early on to attend a show.

However, Rapino insists that his optimism of a full sector revival in 2022 is justified, because things were particularly positive within Live Nation’s ticketing business Ticketmaster in the first quarter of the year, and ticket sales now are a good measure of what is to come later across the wider Live Nation business.

“Ticket buying serves as a leading indicator to our overall business”, he said in his investor note. “Ticketmaster’s strong first quarter performance drove the company’s overall profitability, and shows how well our concert and sponsorship businesses are positioned to deliver record results this year”.

“Despite some markets taking longer to re-open”, he went on, “the quarter was our second highest ever for transacted gross transaction value, excluding refunds, trailing only Q4 2021, with March being our highest month ever for transacted gross transaction value, excluding refunds”.

Live Nation’s sponsorship activity also fully returned in quarter one this year, and – Rapino went on – “at this point our sponsorship sales are up double digits relative to this point in 2019, and we have sold 90% of our planned sponsorship for the year, positioning us for continued strong financial performance”.

Double digit growth compared to pre-pandemic levels is also expected in fan attendance at shows this year, despite audience numbers in quarter one being down on 2019 as a result of ongoing COVID restrictions. “All leading indicators point to double-digit growth in fan attendance at our concerts this year relative to 2019”, Rapino reckoned.

“We [have] continued to build our flywheel”, he added, “with over 70 million tickets now sold for shows in 2022, up 36% compared to this point in 2019, and committed show count is up 44% through late April relative to 2019, setting us up for continued ticket sales over the year”.

So, lots to be upbeat about then. “Looking ahead to the summer and the rest of the year, we remain optimistic that we are just getting going as all leading indicators reinforce record activity levels and financial results … I continue to expect this to be the start of our run. The global addressable market for concerts, ticketing and sponsorship all provide a long runway for continued growth”.