Live Nation has announced its eighth consecutive year of record growth for 2018. In the promoter’s year-end financial report released Thursday (Feb. 28), Live Nation revealed that overall revenue was up by 11 percent for a record total of $10.8 billion over the year.
The company ended 2018 with an adjusted operating income (AOI) of $829 million and a 33 percent increase in earnings over last year. Even adjusting for the $110 million payout to former rival Songkick that concluded a protracted two-year legal battle over claims of unfair competition and computer hacking in 2017, the company saw growth in revenue, operating income and attendance rise.
“We continue to see the tremendous power of live events, with strong consumer demand and a robust supply of new and established artists hitting the road from clubs to stadiums,” said Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino in the report. “Live is truly a unique entertainment form; it cannot be duplicated and creates lifetime memories that fans are craving more than ever in this experience economy.”
Live Nation saw the largest growth year-over-year in its Ticketmaster division. Fee-bearing gross transactional value (GTV) grew by 14 percent over 2017. In 2018, the company saw its highest fee-bearing GTV ever, selling over 60 million in the quarter and delivering over $5 billion in fee-bearing GTV.
“For fourth quarter, Ticketmaster AOI was down slightly impacted by one-time costs associated with a third party vendor data breach that affected our marketplace in certain international markets,” said Live Nation president Joe Berchtold on an earnings call to discuss the report with investors. “Much of these costs were in the fourth quarter and for the full year these costs totaled approximately $15 million.”
In June of 2018, Ticketmaster UK said personal information and credit card data from customers in Britain and other countries may have been stolen in a security breach.
Overall last year, Ticketmaster managed more than 400,000 events, delivering almost 500 million tickets to fans in 28 countries with 10 million new tickets added in 2019.
“I believe we have tremendous opportunity for growth on a global basis, particularly in the 13 markets where we promote concerts but do not yet have a substantial ticketing operation,” said Rapino. “In 2018, we furthered our international expansion, establishing ticketing operations in Italy, growing our German operations and laying the groundwork for expansion into Latin America.”
Live Nation’s concert division saw double-digit growth year-over-year across arenas, amphitheaters and theaters and clubs. In 2018, the company also added nearly 7 million fans for a total 93 million globally, driving concerts revenue up 11 percent, operating income up 61 percent and AOI up 22 percent.
Through mid-February of 2019, the report suggests ticket sales for this year are already up by double-digits growth.
In sponsorship, last year Live Nation the division by 13 percent and saw 75 sponsors collectively spending $350 million — an 11 percent increase compared to 2017. Sponsorship at Live Nation festivals grew 13 percent, driven by new deals with brands including Heineken, Barclays, State Farm and Frito-Lay.
“We continue to see the tremendous power of live events, with strong consumer demand and a robust supply of new and established artists hitting the road from clubs to stadiums,” said Rapino. “Live is truly a unique entertainment form; it cannot be duplicated and creates lifetime memories that fans are craving more than ever in this experience economy.”