The company posted its eighth consecutive year of record results with revenue, operating income, and adjusted operating income all up from 2017, despite a $110 million legal expense.
For 2018, Live Nation reported that concerts continued to be a major source of revenue for the company, and they saw double-digit attendance growth across our arenas, amphitheaters, and theaters & clubs. Overall revenue for concerts improved by 11% in 2018, while operating income and adjusted operating income improved by 61% and 22% respectively from 2017.
According to Live Nation, the company spent more than $6 billion to promote 35,000 shows in 40 countries during 2018, which they touted as making them the “largest financial supporter of artists in music.”
And early indications suggest that 2019 might be a similarly profitable year for Live Nation. Ticket sales through February have shown double-digit growth, along with similar increases in confirmed amphitheater, arena, and stadium show count.
“With this growth and our plans to further monetize our fan relationships, I currently expect this will translate into continued strong growth in concerts operating income and AOI in 2019,” Live Nation Chairman & CEO Michael Rapino said.
2018 was also a banner year for Live Nation’s high-margin sponsorship business and the promoter reported an impressive increase of 13% for revenue, operating income and AOI for the year. Live Nation said 75 sponsors collectively $350 million on sponsorship deals for 2018, up by 11% from 2017.
Rapino touted similar indications for the company’s sponsorship operations in 2019, stating:
“With over 70% of our budgeted sponsorship net revenue for the year already committed, pacing double-digits ahead of this time last year, we are confident we will again deliver double-digit operating income and AOI growth in 2019.”
Live Nation’s Ticketmaster division reported that fee-bearing global transaction value was up by 14% to a total GTV of $33bn for 2018. The growth in ticket sales results in a %14 bump in ticketing revenue for the division, even accounting for a $110 million expense related to the settlement of a lawsuit with Songkick.
“In summary, 2018 was another strong growth year for Live Nation – building our global concerts business and thereby driving growth in our high-margin venue, sponsorship and ticketing businesses,” Rapino said.
“We continue to see the tremendous power of live events, with strong consumer demand and a robust supply of new and established artists hitting the road from clubs to stadiums. Live is truly a unique entertainment form; it cannot be duplicated and creates lifetime memories that fans are craving more than ever in this experience economy,” he added.
For the fourth quarter, Live Nation reported revenue of $2.05 billion, an increase of %13 percent from the same period in 2017. At the same time, they pared losses in operating income, losing just $135.5m in 2018, as opposed to $139.7m in 2017.
Concerts were the biggest weight on adjusted operating income results for Q4, with the concerts division reporting losses of $58.2m, which was up by 64% from the previous year’s Q4 when they posted $35.6m.