As we look back on 2020, it is clearly not the year anyone predicted, our team has kept itself occupied with their resilience and creativity, and acknowledge all of those affected by Covid and the shutdown of live events.
We Believe We Will Return to Live Even Stronger. Over the last year, leaders across all our business lines of Concerts, Ticketing and Sponsorship have been analyzing ways to improve their businesses. Some of our key initiatives include: Re-organizing to become more nimble while also reducing our cost structure; Developing own venues and direct to consumer businesses to expand our revenue streams; Advancing our technology initiatives while accelerating the shift to digital tickets to meet changing needs of fans, venues and artists; and reinforcing our balance sheet to endure this period, while maintaining a strong position to build our business for the future and act on opportunities as we identify them.
So while this past year has been challenging for the company, our employees, fans, artists and so many others globally impacted by Covid, we have never been more excited about the opportunities in front of us.
Supply and Demand Pipeline is Very Strong
We continue to have a substantial tailwind in the live event industry, as consumers more than ever are looking to spend on experiences. The supply-demand fundamentals of the concerts business remain strong, with artists ready to get back on the road and fans eager to reconnect at events. All our data continues to show that there is substantial pent-up demand for concerts on the consumer demand side. At the same time, surveys demonstrate the high demand for concerts globally, with 95% of fans likely to attend a show when restrictions are lifted. This is proving out in fan behavior as well, with 83% of fans continuing to hold onto their tickets for rescheduled shows. On the artist side there is a broad desire to get back on stage – to connect with their fans and to provide economic support to their bands, crew, and the hundreds of others employed each night putting on the show. Given the limited touring activity in 2020 and 2021, the pipeline for 2022 is much stronger than usual, with almost twice as many major touring artists on cycle in 2022 than a typical year – about 45 artists versus the usual 25. And there remains plenty of scheduling availability at arenas, music venues and clubs to accommodate these additional tours, with over two-thirds of these venues’ nights unused by sporting events or major concerts in a typical year.
Vaccine Rollout Encouraging
It appears that the timing to release the pent-up supply and demand is now approaching. Vaccine distribution is accelerating and declines in Covid cases throughout most of the world gives us even more confidence that a safe and meaningful return to shows will soon be possible. So while the timing of our return to live will continue to vary across global markets, every sign points to it beginning safely in many countries sometime this summer and scaling further from there.