Live Nation Reports 83% of Fans Keeping Tickets, but 95% Revenue Drop From Last Year

Live Nation in HollywoodMusic Venues, Los Angeles, California, USA - 11 Jun 2020
Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutterstock

Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company, accentuated the positive wherever possible in its second full quarter with almost no live entertainment in its Q3 earnings report Thursday.

That emphasis is on what will happen when concerts return, which it continues to project for next summer. The company says 83% of fans are keeping tickets for rescheduled shows, and 95% of fans globally are planning on attending concerts again — “the highest point of confidence since the start of the pandemic.”

It claims that “festival [ticket] on-sales are pacing well ahead of last year,” with the dance-music fest Electric Daisy Carnival 2021 in Las Vegas selling out in less than 24 hours at a higher capacity. It also pointed to Creamfields and Isle of Wight festivals in the UK “all pacing ahead of last year at this time,” and its “first sold-out arena tour with 20,000 fans in New Zealand, where business is headed back to normal.” It did not specify which tour that was, but New Zealand artist Benee, whose album comes out next week, completed a major tour of the country last month.

However, financially speaking, as expected, the picture is not a bright one. Revenue for the quarter plummeted year over year, with revenue at $180 million from $3.77 billion, a 95% dive. However, drive-in concerts and a limited return to live events boosted ticket sales 180% to nearly 270,000, but that’s a 96% drop from the 8.16 million sold in the same quarter last year. The company pointed to a $900 Million cost-reduction target for the year, which increased by $100 million from the prior quarter, and that it lowered its estimated cash burn to $110 million per month.

On the positive side, it pointed to $951 million in free cash and $1.9 billion in liquidity, which executives said during the Q&A session means the company does not need to raise additional capital to ride out the pandemic.

However, it posted a $319 million loss in adjusted operating income for the quarter.

The company emphasized the efforts it is making toward a safe return to events: Technology, led by Ticketmaster and its “SmartEvent” product suite, which includes:

▪     Social distancing seat mapping tool

▪     Timed entry technology

▪     SafeTix digital ticketing, which can aid in contact tracing

▪     Contactless offerings from concessions, box office, testing, health questionnaire tracking and more

◦     Concerts, creating a set of standards for Live Nation shows that include:

▪     Collaborating with health experts on guidelines that can adapt across various regions

▪     Venue sanitation procedures

▪     Fan-friendly policies on ticket purchases

▪     The latest testing options

More to come …