Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) reports first quarter (Q1) revenue of $1.48 billion, a 19 per cent increase over $1.23bn during the same period last year.
Adjusted operating income increased to $114 million from $92m, and its operating loss was reduced to $6m from $21.4m in Q1 2017. Net loss for the quarter was $34m.
The majority of revenue growth came from concerts, with increased arena activity globally, and North American theatres and clubs.
However, overall company debt rose by more than half a billion dollars, 22.5 per cent, to $2,819,400, with long-term-debt now at $2.7bn and short-term debt at $119.4m. The company says the extra borrowing is to fund debt restructuring and acquisitions. In 2017 overall debt fell by $13.094m (see Audience issue 218).
Meanwhile, Q1 concerts revenue was up 20 per cent at $1.04bn from a 22 per cent increase in the number of events (7,262) and a 15 per cent increase in attendance (12.5m). North American concerts were up 30 per cent at 4,867, while the number of international shows rose 8.5 per cent to 2,395.
“Our key leading indicators for our concerts, sponsorship and advertising and ticketing segments are ahead of last year, and we currently expect each of our businesses to deliver record revenue, operating income, and AOI this year,” says LNE co-president and CEO Michael Rapino.
Ticketing revenue was up 19 per cent at $372.4m from higher primary and resale activity. LNE subsidiary Ticketmaster signed 135 additional clients in Q1 across 19 countries, with events up 16 per cent to over 195,000.
LNE has also announced its investment in facial recognition technology developer Blink Identity, which will enable fans’ images to be associated with ticket purchase.
Q1 sponsorship/advertising revenue was up 17 per cent at $74.6m.
On the executive pay front, it is revealed that Rapino’s remuneration package for 2017 reached a results-based $70.6m, including $58.6m in stock options, according to a Securities and Exchange (SEC) filing. His base salary was $2.4m plus bonuses. In 2016 Rapino received $10.4 million with just $575k in stock options.
LNE co-president Joe Berchtold earned $28.8m in 2017, with approximately $25.7m in stock options. In 2016 he earned $3.5m with $270k in stock options.