HITS Daily Double


Live Nation set a new record for adjusted operating income in the first quarter of 2022 on revenue of $1.8b. More importantly, said President and CEO Michael Rapino, the summer is on its way to a record-setting stanza.

Rapino reported that more than 70m tickets have been sold for shows this year, up 36% compared to this point in 2019. The committed-show count is up 44% through late April relative to 2019.

The company’s AOI of $209m doubled the previous record, $94m in the first quarter of 2019, which "greatly surpassed expectations," Rapino said on a call with analysts. (Year-over-year comparisons are inapplicable as the live-entertainment industry was shut down in Q1 of 2020 due to the global pandemic.)

Ticketmaster registered its second-highest quarter for GTV (gross transaction value) excluding refunds, up 39% vs Q1 2019, which drove the company's profitability, per Rapino. The company sold 51k fee-bearing tickets and 60k non-fee-bearing tickets. March was Ticketmaster's biggest sales month ever.

“The industry continues to embrace market-based pricing, particularly on the best tickets, shifting $500m to artists for shows this year, resulting from a double-digit increase in ticket pricing, and reducing the price arbitrage in the secondary market,” Rapino explained. “At the same time, in the U.S., the average entry-level price to get in and enjoy the show remains under $35, approachable for almost all fans.”

This year, Rapino said, is “almost back to business, back to full growth.” Next year will start “multiple record years of growth.”

Ticketmaster noted that 72% of Q1 concerts had digital tickets, which it predicts will allow for the acceleration of direct fan-contact efforts for Live Nation.

Live Nation Entertainment President and CFO Joe Berchtold predicted that 80% of tickets will be digital globally and that the company is already using ticketing data for targeted marketing. “Click-through and buy rates are up substantially,” he said.

The promoter staged 6,607 events in Q1, 4,716 of which were in North America. Attendance was just under 11m.

About 2m people attended shows at theaters and clubs in the first quarter, with average per-fan revenue up 30% relative to Q1 2019. LN has staged four festivals over the past few months, totaling more than 300k fans, with average per-fan revenue up more than 30% compared to 2019 fests.

As expected, there were fewer Q1 arena shows than usual as tours scheduled for that period were pushed to Q2 and Q3.

Looking further down the road, Live Nation will add 20 venues to its portfolio and 38 more festivals this year, while more than 60 major tours are already in talks for 2023.

Rapino singled out the creation, with promoter C3, of Las Vegas' When We Were Young. They expected to sell 40k tickets to a one-day event and wound up moving 160k, having added two additional days.

Sponsorship revenue rebounded to the tune of $115.7m as the number of strategic sponsors that generated more than $1m each rose by close to 30% over 2019. Much of the growth has come from technology, telecom and purchase-path integration. Live Nation has sold 90% of its planned sponsorships for the year.

In after-hours trading, LN stock was up 4% to over $99 a share in the first hour after the results were announced.