Live Nation had another record-setting quarter as music fans swarmed to concerts and continued to spend on live entertainment amidst persistent inflation, high gas prices and a resumption in student loan repayments in the United States. The concert promotion and ticketing giant posted third-quarter revenue of $8.2 billion, up 32% from the prior-year period, the company announced Thursday (Nov. 2). Adjusted operating income (AOI) rose 35% to a record $836 million.
A year ago, revenue reached a then-record $6.2 billion as artists returned to the stage after pandemic layoffs. In 2019, the last full year before the pandemic shut down the global touring business, Live Nation posted third-quarter revenue of $3.8 billion — 54% below what the company reported Thursday. Some growth since 2019 stems from acquisitions such as OCESA, the Mexican concert promoter Live Nation bought in 2021 for $416 million. But m uch of the record-setting result comes from the high number of touring artists and greater fan spending.
“While we have benefitted from tailwinds for many years, it has accelerated due to the globalization of our business along with a fundamental shift in consumer spending habits toward experiences,” president/CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement. “With the majority of opportunity still untapped from Milan to Bogotá to Tokyo and beyond, we expect the industry will continue growing in 2024 and for years to come.”
Through the first nine months of 2023, Live Nation’s revenue increased 36% to $16.9 billion and AOI rose 33% to $1.7 billion. Both nine-month figures were greater than Live Nation’s revenue and AOI for full year 2022.
In the concerts division, third-quarter revenue rose 32% to $7 billion and AOI grew 21% to $341 million. The number of fans at Live Nation concerts also grew 21% overall — 34% in international markets and 13% in North America.
Venue Nation, Live Nation’s venue management company for venues it does not own, increased ancillary revenue at operated venues. At amphitheaters, ancillary per-fan revenue was up 10% to $40 year to date. At theaters and clubs, ancillary per-fan spending rose in the double-digits globally.
Ticketmaster revenue grew 57% to $833 million while AOI jumped 94% to $316 million. Total fee-bearing gross transaction value was up 36% to $10 billion, with North America growing 32% and international markets climbing 49%. The ticketing company had 17 million net new client tickets in the first three quarters of the year.
Sponsorship and advertising revenue rose 7% to $367 million in the third quarter, while the division’s AOI improved 11% to $250 million.
Through mid-October, Ticketmaster sold 140 million tickets to Live Nation shows, up 17% year-over-year and surpassing the 121 million tickets sold in full-year 2022. Over the same period, the company sold 257 million fee-bearing tickets, a 22% improvement, and expects to surpass 300 million fee-bearing tickets in 2023.
For full-year 2023, the company expects 55 million fans at Live Nation-operated venues, up from 49 million in 2022. Ticketmaster expects full-year margins to remain in the high 30s through the fourth quarter. Sponsorship and advertising margins are expected to remain in the low 60s.
Looking forward to 2024, event-deferred revenue — ticket sales for future events — was up 39% to $2.6 billion through mid-October. About half of 2024’s expected show count has been booked for large venues — amphitheaters, arenas and stadiums — which is up double digits from the same point in 2022.
- Revenue up 32% to $8.2 billion.
- Adjusted operating income is up 35% to $836 million.
- Year-to-date operating cash flow of $762 million, down from $928 million in Q3 2022.
- Year-to-date free cash flow (adjusted) of $1.3 billion, up from $996 million in Q3 2022.
- Ticketmaster revenue up 57% to $833 million.
- Sponsorship and advertising revenue up 7% to $367 million.
- Earnings per share rose 28% to $1.78.