Live Nation Q3 Beats Wall Street Expectations With $2.7B Revenue
Jena Ardell/Getty Images – Things Are Looking Up:
Live Nation reports that its confirmed show count across amphitheaters, arenas and stadiums is up double-digits relative to the same time in 2019 for 2020 shows.
Driven by festivals, pent-up fan demand and robust ancillary revenue, Live Nation blew past Wall Street expectations and reported net income of $46.9 million, or 19 cents a share, for the third quarter, reversing a loss of $528.9 million, or $2.45 a share a year ago as it released its Q3 2021 financial reports Nov. 4.
The stock market responded. Shares of Live Nation soared a whopping 13% to $121.92 in after hours trading Nov. 4, and continued to rise the next day – reaching a high of $127.75 per share before settling to $123.88 at end of trading Nov. 5.
Skyrocketing share price is nice, but doesn’t tell the story of what happened in the last quarter or even year. Live Nation saw positive operating income ($137 million) and adjusted operating income (306 million) for the first time in two years, Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement.
Live Nation reported net income of $46.9 million, or 19 cents a share, for the third quarter, reversing a loss of $528.9 million, or $2.45 a share a year ago.
“Revenue skyrocketed by a factor of almost 15, to $2.7 billion from $184 million a year earlier. The latest figure blew away the FactSet analyst consensus of $1.92 billion,” Rapino wrote. “The 2021 summer concerts season rebounded quickly, with 17 million fans attending our shows in the quarter, as the return to live reflected tremendous pent-up demand.
“Festivals were a large part of our return to live this summer, with many of our festivals selling out in record time and overall ticket sales for major festivals were up 10% versus 2019. And we have had a number of tours already sell over 500,000 tickets for shows this year, including sell-out tours by Harry Styles, Chris Stapleton and others.”
Live Nation reports that fans spent cash at record levels, with onsite spending per fan up more than 20% in amphitheaters and festivals compared to 2019 – which by all accounts was itself a watershed year for live music.
Rapino addressed the challenges of emerging from a still dangerous pandemic, noting that vaccination and testing protocols did not negatively impact ticket sales, none of its events contributed to infection surges, and even much-vaunted staffing shortages in many employment sectors failed to materialize at Live Nation events.
“We delivered these results within an operating environment that required us to ramp up quickly, institute new health and safety protocols, and staff our front line in a tight labor market,” Rapino said. “On the health and safety front, we set the industry standard by requiring proof of vaccine or testing for our shows, with no change in fan purchasing behavior. More importantly, our protocols proved effective in mitigating major COVID disruptions to our business in the U.S. and the U.K. and allowed us to work in conjunction with local health officials to mitigate transmission risks from our events. On the labor front, we were able to meet staffing requirements for our peak outdoor season without any show disruption.”
Ticketmaster also saw its highest operating and AOI quarter in its history, Live Nation reports, led by sports leagues restarting and 2022 concert onsales ramping up.
Sponsorship and advertising bounced back as well, delivering more than $100 million in operating income and AOI.
“As we now look forward to 2022, we are encouraged by all our leading indicators across each business. Through October, our confirmed show count across amphitheaters, arenas and stadiums is up double-digits relative to the same time in 2019 for 2020 shows, and through mid-October, we have already sold 22 million tickets for our shows in 2022. Demand has been stronger than ever for many of these on-sales with one million tickets sold for each Coldplay and Red Hot Chili Peppers tours, and several other tours already selling over 500,000 tickets.” Rapino said.
“As we get close to turning the page on 2021, I remain more convinced than ever on the power and potential of live entertainment, and the strength of our position. No industry was more impacted by the pandemic over the last two years, and no industry has so proven its durability of demand in the face of such disruption.
“I fully expect we will continue to have bumps in the road in the coming months, and it will take some time for international artists to be touring on a truly global basis, but the fundamental strength of live entertainment and Live Nation has proven out, and I expect we will only continue to grow from here.”