Live Nation Reports $3.8B In First Quarter Revenue

Olivia Rodrigo Sold Out GUTS World Tour New York – Madison Square Garden
MORE THAN ALL THE MILES COMBINED: Noah Kahan and Olivia Rodrigo perform onstage during her “GUTS World Tour” performance at Madison Square Garden on April 5 in New York City. Rodrigo and Kahan both have successful on-going tours promoted by Live Nation. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation)

Live Nation set another revenue record, reporting $3.8 billion in first quarter earnings after trading closed Thursday, besting the previous mark of $3.1 billion in Q1 2023. That’s a 22% year-over-year increase as the company says leading indicators point to a strong 2024..

Q1 represented yet another beat for LYV, with the analysts’ consensus pegged at $3.28 billion.

On the bottom line, however, Live Nation reported an operating loss of $37 million, down significantly from the $142 million in operating income in the first quarter of 2023. Earnings per share comes in at -$0.53; that’s a miss with the analysts’ consensus at -$0.11.

The loss is attributable to a $97 million reduction “comprised of accrual related to Astroworld litigation.”

“Our Q1 results demonstrate that live events remain a priority for fans around the world. Global fan demand is stronger than ever, more artists are out on the road, and more venues are being added to bring them together. While operating income will be impacted by one-time accruals, we’re on track to deliver another record year with double-digit AOI growth and years of momentum still to come,” Michael Rapino, Live Nation Entertainment president and CEO, said in a statement.

Live Nation reported strong year-over-year increases in all sectors, though, of course, concert revenue was, as ever, the main driver.

In Q1, concert revenues neared $2.9 billion, climbing 26% over the same quarter last year. Overall attendance is up 21% year-over-year to 23 million. Arenas paced the growth — up 40% to 10 million with increased arena activity reflecting a slowdown in stadium events. There was also strong growth in festival attendance, led by the Latin American market.  

“Artists touring again this year are achieving increased sell throughs and higher grosses per show at arenas and amphitheaters relative to their 2023 tours,” the company said.

On the venues side, Live Nation says food and beverage per-caps at its operated clubs and theaters are up 10% with per-fan spending at its amphitheaters predicted to outpace similarly-sized competitor venues by 2.5 times. Live Nation is putting its capital expenditure for 2024 at $600 million, with three-quarters of that driven by Venues Nation with five venues accounting for 40% of the spend.

“Most of the capex increase relative to our prior projection due to additional venue expansion opportunities, including a stadium in South America to be modeled after Foro Sol,” the company said.

Sponsorship revenue was up 24% to $211 million, driven by an “increasingly global platform.” The company says 85% of the expected sponsorship commitments for the year are already booked with double-digit increases in the non-alcoholic beverage, consumer packaged goods and retail categories.

Ticketmaster had record Q1 operating metrics as well. Revenue-wise, it’s up 7% over the same quarter last year to $723 million. Total fee-bearing global transaction value was $8 billion.

Record years are seemingly de rigueur and Live Nation anticipates another one. Total confirmed show count for large venues — stadium, arena and amphitheater —  is up. Sales for arenas and sheds are up double digits. Large venues are booked at 85%, up from 75% at the same time last year. 

An increasingly global market is also a boon. Sales for Latin shows are up double digits year over year. Latin bookings are up 40% in the U.S., with a similar increase in Europe. Afrobeats bookings are up 400% in the U.S. as the genre continues to break out. The company plans to open “at least 12 major venues” globally in 2024 and 2025, as well, increasing total capacity by 8 million.