Live Nation’s 2022 was record-breaking across basically all key metrics — revenue, concert attendance, gross transaction value and sponsorships were all at all-time highs — and the company expects 2023 to top that.
As the company reported Thursday (Feb) with its fourth quarter earnings, total revenue reached a record $16.7 billion in 2022 — up 44% from the pre-pandemic era of 2019. That growth was spread across a number of factors: more fans, more concerts, more spending per fan, higher average ticket prices and a greater number of large sponsors.
Adjusted operating income improved 49% to $1.4 billion over the year, and operating free cash flow rose nearly four-fold to $1.8 billion.
Concert revenue in 2022 was $13.49 billion, up 43.1% from 2019 and 185.8% more than 2021. Concert attendance reached 121 million fans in 2022, up 24% from 2019 and a 246% increase from 2021, a year Live Nation began to recover from the pandemic but was not yet at full strength. The concerts division put on 43,600 events in 2022, up 153.2% from 2021 and up 8.4% from 2019. Attendance for Venue Nation, the venues operated by Live Nation, reached almost 50 million.
Ticketing revenues of $2.24 billion was up 44.9% from 2019 and up 97.4% from 2021. Fee-bearing ticket volume rose 28% from 2019 to 280 million. Fee-bearing gross transaction value grew to $28 billion, up more than 50% from 2019.
The average ticket costs were higher in 2022, too. With more tickets priced dynamically to true market value, Live Nation estimates $700 million was shifted to artists (and, presumably, away from the secondary market). That said, the average entry price for tickets remained below $35 in the U.S.
Even though consumers felt the pinch of high inflation throughout 2022, music fans didn’t shy away from spending money at Live Nation concerts. Ancillary per-fan spending rose at least 20% across all venue types from 2019 levels.
Sponsorship revenue reached $968 million, up 64% from 2019 and 135% greater than 2021. Live Nation had 120 large sponsors globally, up 32% from 2019. Last year, the company added PayPal, GoPuff, Hulu and Snap as sponsors. They and other new, large sponsors accounted for 80% of sponsorship’s revenue growth in 2022.
Live Nation points to a number of leading indicators that suggest 2023 will be even stronger than 2022. As of mid-February, event-related deferred revenue — tickets sales for concerts that have not yet occurred — was up $400 million to $2.7 billion. Also through mid-February, ticket sales are up 20% and fee-bearing gross transaction value of tickets sold is up 33%.
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