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Live Nation Turns in Record Quarter as Touring Business Booms

Third-quarter 2022 revenues were $6.2 billion — 66.8% greater than the same period in 2019.

Live Nation set records for concert revenue and ticket sales in the third quarter of 2022 as the touring industry continued its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Third-quarter revenues were $6.2 billion, 66.8% greater than the same period in 2019, while adjusted operating income increased 45% to $621 million, the company announced Thursday (Nov. 3).  

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“Fans around the world continue prioritizing their spend on live events, particularly concerts,” said president and CEO Michael Rapino in a statement. “Despite varying economic headwinds including inflation, we have not seen any pullback in demand, as on-sales, on-site spending, advertising and all other operating metrics continue showing strong year-on-year growth.” 

The concerts division tallied its highest-ever quarterly attendance with 44 million fans at 11,000 events that generated $5 billion of revenue and $281 million of adjusted operating income (AOI), up 67% and 44%, respectively, from the same period in 2019. Demand was strong across all types of venues and markets. Stadium attendance tripled to almost 9 million as many top artists, including Bad Bunny (the highest grossing Latin tour in Boxscore history), Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Weeknd, took advantage of strong fan demand by performing the larger venues.  

Ticketmaster also had a record-breaking quarter by delivering its highest fee-bearing gross transacted value of $7.3 Billion, a 62% increase from the same period in 2019. Ticketing revenue was $343 million, up 96.7% year-over-year and 36.8% greater than the same period in 2019. Ticketing’s AOI of $163.2 million was 5% lower year-over-year but 28.2% above the third quarter of 2019.   

Ticketmaster has made headlines because some artists — namely Bruce Springsteen and Blink-182 — opted for dynamic pricing that charged more for the best seats. The practice may frustrate some fans, but Live Nation expects to transfer over $550 million to artists through higher primary ticket prices — value that might otherwise have been captured on the secondary ticketing market.  

Sponsorship and advertising revenue was up 59.4% to $343 million on the strength of Live Nation’s festivals and Ticketmaster platform integration. The high-margin segment’s AOI of $226.2 million was 103.4% better year-over-year and 69.8% higher than the same period in 2019. Confirmed sponsorship revenue for 2023 is up 30% over the same period a year ago.  

Through September, ancillary fan spending at U.S. amphitheaters was up 30%. “The consistent theme is that fans are eager to enhance their experience, as we continue elevating our hospitality operations and provide more premium options,” said Rapino. 

Looking ahead, the busy touring season will continue into 2023 and consumer demand appears to be holding strong despite widespread fears of an upcoming recession and tightening budgets due to persistent inflation. “Ticket sales for shows in 2023 are pacing even stronger than they were heading into 2022, up double-digits year-over-year, excluding sales from rescheduled shows,” said Rapino. Through the third quarter, Ticketmaster sold over 115 million, up 37% from the same period in 2019. 

Live Nation’s share price rose 4.6% to $79.90 in after-hours trading on Thursday following the earnings release.

Financial metrics 

  • Total revenue: $6.2 billion, up 63.TK% from 2019 
  • Adjusted operating income: $621 million, up 45% from 2019 
  • Concert revenue: $5.29 billion, up 66.8% from 2019 
  • Ticketing revenue: $531.6 million, up 36.8% from 2019 
  • Sponsorship and advertising: $343 million, up 59.4% from 2019 

Fan metrics 

  • North America concerts; 8,261, up 14% from 2019 
  • International concerts: 2,958, up 57.4% from 2019  
  • North American fans: 29.1 million, up 27.7% from 2019 
  • International fans: 15.2 million, up 71.9% from 2019 
  • Fee-bearing tickets: 73.4 million, up 32.7% from 2019 
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