Bloomberg — Live Nation Entertainment Inc., the world’s largest concert promoter, returned to profit last quarter after about two years of losses, citing the return of summer shows following Covid-19 lockdowns.
Adjusted operating income amounted to $305.7 million in the third quarter, Live Nation said Thursday, rebounding from a $319.2 million loss a year earlier. Analysts were forecasting $204.9 million. Revenue soared to $2.7 billion, compared with Wall Street estimates of $2.12 billion.
The company, which counts media billionaire John Malone’s Liberty Media as a major investor, was all but shut down a year ago. It registered just $184 million in revenue. That all changed with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and the return of summer music festivals. The company is now selling out its events faster than ever.
Higher ticket prices account for much of the growth. The company is selling more premium tickets and raising prices for its VIP tickets. Amphitheater shows and major festivals fetched double-digit increases from 2019. Spending per-fan on food, drink and merchandise increased more than 20% over levels two years ago.
The U.S. and U.K. are the major markets where business is back. Live music won’t return to Latin America or Asia until the middle of next year.
The Ticketmaster business delivered its highest profit ever and overall ticket sales to major shows were up 10% from prepandemic levels in 2019. Ticket sales are a leading indicator of future concert revenue. Live Nation projects concertgoing will return to prepandemic levels in 2022.
Live Nation fluctuated between gains and losses in extended trading after the results were announced. The stock was up 46% this year through the close Thursday in New York after trading at a record high.