Live Nation Posts $3.1 Billion in Revenue, Record Attendance as Global Touring Returns

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Despite angry words from Taylor Swift, major issues with its Ticketmaster division, a Senate hearing and incoming legislation, Live Nation posted another record-breaking quarter in Q1 of 2023, with a record $3.1 billion in revenue — up 73% from the same period last year — and a record 19.5 million fans attending its events as the global touring business returns to full strength.

The company’s concerts division already has sold almost 90 million tickets for shows this year already, more than 20% ahead of last year, and posted adjusted operating income of $320 million, a 53% increase.

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“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,” Rapino said.

“We think there’s years of industry growth ahead,” CEO Michael Rapino said, detailing in the official announcement, “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.”

Highlights of the earnings are pasted below, but not surprisingly, the legislation affecting the company’s embattled Ticketmaster division, which faced a firestorm of criticism after a botched on-sale for the Taylor Swift tour last fall, was a major topic during the earnings call’s Q&A session. True to form, Rapino managed to turn his response into a positive when asked how the legislation will impact the company’s businesses, saying that it’s in line with the company’s proposed FAIR Ticketing Act.

“We’re watching what’s going on,” he replied, “and we believe that through all of the noise, most people are ending up where we are, in the principles of the FAIR Act — all-in pricing, cleaning up deceptive practices, these seem to be common themes in these bills and what we have in our own bill, the FAIR Act. These are all in the same vein of helping the artist control their tickets and get them into the hands of fans,” and avoiding the excesses secondary market, such as speculative ticket selling, bots, etc. “Right now, it’s the wild west and we’re doing our best — but this is not [Live Nation] versus any of these. We’re aligned on all of them.”

Ticketmaster led the company’s sale of more than 73 million fee-bearing tickets, up 40%, delivering $7.7 billion in fee-bearing gross transaction volume — up 60%.

Financial Highlights (vs Q1 2022):

•    AOI was $320 million, up 53%

•    Operating Income was $143 million, up 5.3x

•    Revenue was $3.1 billion, up 73%

•    Adjusted Free Cash Flow was up more than 2x to $190 million, Converting 59% of AOI

•    Operating Cash Flow reached $1.2 billion

Q1 Highlights: All divisions post record growth (vs Q1 2022):

•    Concerts See Unprecedented Global Fan Demand

◦     Over 19 million fans attended shows across 45 countries, up 79%

◦     Adding more elevated experience options and destination events with launch of Vibee

◦     Entry prices remain affordable, with $25 all-in tickets available to over 3,800 Live Nation summer shows

•    Ticket Sales Up Across the Globe

◦     Over 145 million total tickets sold by Ticketmaster in Q1, up 30%

◦     $7.7 billion in fee-bearing GTV, up 60%

•    Sponsorship Growth Up Double-Digits for 2023

◦     Sponsorship AOI up 37% to $96 million

◦     Over 80% of planned 2023 sponsorship revenue committed

2023 Outlook: All divisions on pace to hit records:

•    Concert ticket sales up 20%+ to date to nearly 90 million tickets for shows this year, driven by record number of stadium shows and strength in arena tours

•    Event-related deferred revenue up 28% to $4.4 billion in Q1

•    Ticketing set to manage 600 million tickets globally this year

•    Sponsorship on track for double digit AOI growth

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