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Live Nation Reports a Record 2017 in Year-End Results

Live Nation had another record year in 2017, according to financial results for the quarter and full year that ended on December 31.

In a quick takeaway, revenue was up 24% to $10.3 billion; attendance at the company’s concerts was up 21% to 86 million; and sponsorship and advertising revenue was up 18%. The company’s Ticketmaster unit showed strong growth as well, with its fee-bearing gross transaction value (GTV) up 15%.

Breaking that down, according to the report the company added 15 million fans globally for a total of almost 86 million fans, with concerts revenue rising 26%. The company invested $5.6 billion to promote 30,000 shows in 40 countries.

On the earnings call, the company acknowledged a $202 million fourth-quarter loss from its $110 million settlement with Songkick, although it did not initially mention the name of that company, whose assets it acquired as part of the settlement announced in January. Songkick accused Live Nation of interfering with its business and hacking into its computer systems.

Average ticket prices for Live Nation shows increased by 5% in 2017, amounting to over $250 million additional revenue, with average per-fan spending growing as well: At the company’s amphitheaters, consumer spending grew by 9% to over $24 per head.

Looking ahead into 2018, confirmed arena, amphitheater and stadium shows through February 19 are up 7% compared to this time last year, according to the report. “Overall, we expect a very strong year across our amphitheaters, arenas and festivals, with some decline in stadium show count on a year-over-year basis,” CEO Michael Rapino (pictured) wrote. “Given our plans to further monetize our fan relationships, I expect this will translate into continued strong growth in concerts operating results in 2018.”

The company’s sponsorship division grew our revenue by 18% in 2017, with 50-plus sponsors spending over $1 million per year for a total of $285 million, up 19% from last year.  Sponsorship revenue at the company’s festivals grew 20%, aided by new deals with American Express, American Eagle, Samsung and Amazon Web Services.

Ticketmaster grew as well in 2017, with fee-bearing gross transaction value (GTV) up 15% and total platform GTV of $30 billion, delivering 500 million tickets to fans in 29 countries and a 17% increase in ticketing revenue; the fourth quarter of 2017 was the best in the company’s history, with over 50 million fee-bearing tickets sold, delivering over $4.5 billion in GTV. Music has accounted for about 80% of Ticketmaster’s GTV growth in recent years, Rapino said.

“In 2018, I expect us to further consolidate our global concerts position while enhancing our on-site hospitality business and capturing additional pricing opportunities,” Rapino concluded in the report. “We believe that our sponsorship business will continue driving double-digit growth as more brands look for that direct connection with music fans.  And a more effective Ticketmaster marketplace, along with further alignment with artists, should continue to build on Ticketmaster’s success.”

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