Live Nation Reports ‘Best Quarter Ever’

Live Nation Entertainment reported third-quarter earnings of $136.4 million in what CEO Michael Rapino called its best quarter in history in financial reports released Nov. 2.

Live Nation Logo 2017
– Live Nation Logo 2017

The company reported earnings of $136.4 million, or 53 cents on a per-share basis compared with $111.03 million last year, while posting revenue of $3.56 billion in the quarter, up from $3.17 billion a year ago.

Ticket sales and events were up, along with ticket price and per-head ancillary revenues, driving the big quarter – along with stadium tours from U2, Guns N’ Roses and Coldplay.

Globally, 6,758 events were estimated to have taken place and 115.5 million tickets sold compared with 6,157 events and 114 million tickets sold in 2016. According to a statement, Live Nation/Ticketmaster has sold more than 80 million tickets on the year, up 20 percent through October. 

Attendance per show is up 6 percent, according to Live Nation, led by arenas and stadiums. Front of house ticket prices across U.S. amphitheatres, arenas and stadiums were responsible for a 9 percent rise in ticket price thanks in part to an effort to work with artists to “better align the pricing for their best tickets with market value,” Rapino said.

Ancillary revenue per fan increased 9 percent to almost $24, which represents an almost 20 percent increase over the past two years as the company has worked to improve concessions, VIP programs and parking.

Sponsorship and advertising showed hefty increases as well, with net revenue up 13 percent through October.

Of particular interest to investors on the earnings call is the Oct. 25 announcement that Ticketmaster has renewed its contract with the National Football League, and expects the NFL to move primary ticketing to its all-digital Presence platform by 2019.

 “When we announced the NFL will be digital by 2019, it was an indication we are ready for prime time,” Rapino said. “It will be ready across all stadiums and arenas that are Ticketmaster-driven. We are ready for an aggressive rollout. It gives sports team much more control over ticketing, how to price tickets and how they are used by, say, four people who went to the event versus the one person who bought the tickets. Each fan becomes a data point. It drives business to a new level.”

Rapino also pointed out that digital ticket could provide security advantages as well, because venues will have location and other information for every individual who attends.