Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: LYV) today released financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2023.
2023 is off to a tremendous start. For the first time in three years, all of our markets are fully open. The common theme we are seeing around the world is that live experiences are a high priority for fans.
In the first quarter, we delivered record results across all divisions, as well as record support for artists. From ticket sales, to attendance, and onsite spend – every sign points to incredible demand for live events. In the first quarter, over 19 million fans attended our shows across 45 countries and we sold over 145 million tickets with record levels of activity across all markets.
We delivered revenue of $3.1 billion, operating income of $143 million, and AOI of $320 million, up 73%, 5.3x, and 53% respectively, relative to the first quarter of last year. This performance is indicative of our continued long-term growth and sets the stage for a record 2023, as we are more positive than ever about artists touring, fans attending concerts to see their favorite artists, and our role helping make this happen.
Live Entertainment Demand Is Unprecedented
What is clear as we look at our results and operating metrics is that global demand for live events continues to reach new heights – demand has been growing for a long time and is showing no signs of letting up. Talking to fans, they say that live experiences are the number one leisure category where they expect to spend more in the future. Naturally, this is leading to record levels of activity in both our concerts and ticketing businesses.
First, in concerts we have sold nearly 90 million tickets for shows this year, tracking more than 20% ahead of this point last year. These early sales have been driven by a record number of stadium shows and continued strong growth in arena tours. With many major tours – from Beyoncé to Drake to Bruce Springsteen – demand was so strong that even when artists added a number of additional shows, they still were not able to meet all of the fan demand.
As a further initiative to make tickets affordable to all fans, we launched today our Summer Concert Week sale, with $25 tickets available to over 3,800 shows.
When fans attend our shows, they continued spending to enhance their experience. While our key outdoor season has not started yet, early reads from U.S. and European indoor venues that we operate demonstrate further growth in average per fan revenue. As we provide more elevated hospitality options for fans, we have launched Vibee, which hosts destination events centered around live music and launched this week with U2 Sphere VIP packages selling out.
We have also continued building our Venue Nation portfolio, with new venues expected to host nearly three million fans at one thousand shows this year, driving more long-term growth and profitability across all our businesses.
Our ticketing business benefits from the same structural tailwinds as concerts, with further growth driven by our success in adding new clients, notably in international markets. As a result, we sold 73 million fee-bearing tickets in the first quarter, up 40% and delivered $7.7 billion in fee-bearing gross transaction value, up 60% vs first quarter 2022. We are seeing growth in both volume and pricing across our global markets. This holds true across all event types from concerts to sports; and from the biggest superstars to new artists.
Brands Seeking to Connect With Fans
Our brand partners recognize that the passion for live music has never been greater, and that Live Nation provides a unique on-site and on-line platform to connect with fans in meaningful ways on a global scale. In the first quarter, we continued adding partners for 2023 and beyond including Google Pixel, PayPal, and Levi’s. With this, we have commitments for over 80% of our planned sponsorship for the year.
Equally important, fans are embracing the value brands can provide to the concert experience, with around 70% of live music goers agreeing that brands can enhance their time at the show. Our team is the best in the industry at working with brands to develop programs that deliver value to fans, which in turn grows our brand relationships and attracts new ones.
Our results for the first quarter demonstrate the success of our strategy and sets us up for strong growth in 2023. We expect to host a record number of fans this year, even against a 2022 comparison which benefited from rescheduled shows attended by 20 million fans. Ticketmaster should also deliver record activity, with around 600 million tickets managed globally this year. Our sponsorship business, even after incredible growth last year, looks to be on track for double-digit AOI growth again this year.
As we then look to 2024 and beyond, we have all the necessary levers to build our flywheel globally and continue to compound AOI by double-digits for the foreseeable future.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Live Nation Entertainment, Inc.
The company will webcast a teleconference today at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time to discuss its financial performance, operational matters and potentially other material developments. Interested parties should visit the “News / Events” section of the company’s website at investors.livenationentertainment.com to listen to the webcast. Supplemental statistical and financial information to be provided on the call, if any, will be posted to the “Financial Info” section of the website. A replay of the webcast will also be available on the Live Nation website.