Live Nation posted a record $3.1 billion in revenue — up 73% from last year — in the first quarter of 2023. The ticket-industry giant said in a press release that over 19 million people attended events across 45 countries in the first quarter. For the first time since the global pandemic began in 2020, all of Live Nation's markets are fully open.
Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. is the world's leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts and Live Nation Media & Sponsorship.
Live Nation Entertainment reported operating income of $142.8 million, more than five times higher than Q1 last year.
Concert revenue was nearly $2.3 billion, an 89 percent increase year-over-year. Sponsorship was up 47 percent to $170 million.
Live Nation Entertainment sold 90 million tickets for 2023 shows thus far, 20 percent higher than the same point in 2022.
Michael Rapino, president and chief executive officer of Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., said in the aforementioned press release: "This performance is indicative of our continued long-term growth and sets the stage for a record 2023, as we are more positive than ever about artists touring, fans attending concerts to see their favorite artists, and our role helping make this happen.
"What is clear as we look at our results and operating metrics is that global demand for live events continues to reach new heights — demand has been growing for a long time and is showing no signs of letting up. Talking to fans, they say that live experiences are the number one leisure category where they expect to spend more in the future. Naturally, this is leading to record levels of activity in both our concerts and ticketing businesses."
Rapino continued: "First, in concerts we have sold nearly 90 million tickets for shows this year, tracking more than 20% ahead of this point last year. These early sales have been driven by a record number of stadium shows and continued strong growth in arena tours. With many major tours — from Beyoncé to Drake to Bruce Springsteen — demand was so strong that even when artists added a number of additional shows, they still were not able to meet all of the fan demand.
"As a further initiative to make tickets affordable to all fans, we launched today our Summer Concert Week sale, with $25 tickets available to over 3,800 shows.
"When fans attend our shows, they continued spending to enhance their experience. While our key outdoor season has not started yet, early reads from U.S. and European indoor venues that we operate demonstrate further growth in average per fan revenue. As we provide more elevated hospitality options for fans, we have launched Vibee, which hosts destination events centered around live music and launched this week with U2 Sphere VIP packages selling out.
"We have also continued building our Venue Nation portfolio, with new venues expected to host nearly three million fans at one thousand shows this year, driving more long-term growth and profitability across all our businesses.
"Our ticketing business benefits from the same structural tailwinds as concerts, with further growth driven by our success in adding new clients, notably in international markets. As a result, we sold 73 million fee-bearing tickets in the first quarter, up 40% and delivered $7.7 billion in fee-bearing gross transaction value, up 60% vs first quarter 2022. We are seeing growth in both volume and pricing across our global markets. This holds true across all event types from concerts to sports; and from the biggest superstars to new artists.
"Our brand partners recognize that the passion for live music has never been greater, and that Live Nation provides a unique on-site and on-line platform to connect with fans in meaningful ways on a global scale. In the first quarter, we continued adding partners for 2023 and beyond including Google Pixel, PayPal, and Levi’s. With this, we have commitments for over 80% of our planned sponsorship for the year.
"Equally important, fans are embracing the value brands can provide to the concert experience, with around 70% of live music goers agreeing that brands can enhance their time at the show. Our team is the best in the industry at working with brands to develop programs that deliver value to fans, which in turn grows our brand relationships and attracts new ones.
"Our results for the first quarter demonstrate the success of our strategy and sets us up for strong growth in 2023. We expect to host a record number of fans this year, even against a 2022 comparison which benefited from rescheduled shows attended by 20 million fans. Ticketmaster should also deliver record activity, with around 600 million tickets managed globally this year. Our sponsorship business, even after incredible growth last year, looks to be on track for double-digit AOI growth again this year.
"As we then look to 2024 and beyond, we have all the necessary levers to build our flywheel globally and continue to compound AOI by double-digits for the foreseeable future."
Image credit: Danny Wimmer Presents