Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino Tells CNBC U.S. Concert Market Is ‘Fully Open,’ And Europe Will Follow

Michael Rapino
– Michael Rapino

The U.S. live business is “fully open” now, Live Nation Entertainment President/CEO Michael Rapino told CNBC in a July 8 interview, evidenced by a summer concert and festival lineup that all but shut down in March 2020. He’s bullish on the UK market, too.

“We’re very excited about the American market. You know, 70% of our business is going to be the U.S. and the U.K. Those two markets seem on track,” Rapino said on the cabler’s “Power Lunch” show with Julia Boorstin from the Allen and Co. Sun Valley Conference for tech and media power players in Idaho.
Rapino told a national TV audience that Live Nation is hosting 30 amphitheater tours at full capacity this summer, including the Rolling Loud festival in Miami which is expected to host some 200,000 fans. He projected 10 to 15 festivals to play this summer as well.
Live Nation’s European market is expected to reopen by fall, though Asia will likely not be back in business until next year because of delays in rolling out coronavirus vaccinations, Rapino said. 
With the glut of new bookings added to the number of postponed shows from 2020 being added to the 2021 concert calendar, Rapino says his company will not be “cramming together” shows. Looking forward, he tells CNBC that artists will not perform “unless they have the weekends, and the right cities and the right markets.”
Rapino added, “We’re going to make sure that we don’t … give the four shows in one week and you’ve got to pick one. We’ll spread those over a couple of years and a couple markets. So we look at the pent-up demand as lots of availability, but we’re also going to make sure the consumer has time to buy it.”
He adds that fans will see some major changes at the venues as well as in the ticket buying process. 
“We used COVID to do a lot of rebuilding infrastructure programs, product around Ticketmaster, but contactless was a big piece we accelerated,” Rapino told CNBC. “You’ll now go to venues and you’ll be able to get in that venue, buy your ticket, buy that beer, buy that T-shirt contactless through your app through the web.”
Shares of Live Nation closed down 1.8% on July 8, but after hours the following day had rebounded up 1.9% to trade at $83.75 per share.