Last Thursday’s Live Nation Q4 2020 earnings call brought forth hopeful projections from the company’s CEO, Michael Rapino, who stated that based on conversations with governors in key U.S. states, “a clear outline to a 75% to 100%” capacity outdoor events in 2021 would likely be greenlit. He added that the prospect of a 75%-plus capacity re-opening in the largest U.S. markets was “within sight.”
According to Music Business Worldwide, this news comes as Live Nation—the world’s largest live entertainment company—sold over 170,000 concert tickets in the U.K. in just 72 hours. As vaccination rollout continues across the pond, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has laid out an aggressive reopening schedule that would see the opening of large-scale music events with no audience limit by June 21st.
After Johnson announced the reopening schedule on February 22nd, Live Nation and its U.K. subsidiary Festival Republic quickly announced dates for their Reading & Leads Festival, which hold a combined capacity of nearly 180,000 at two different sites as the events occur simultaneously. Dates were announced for August 27th—29th and tickets were put on sale, with Rapino later confirming that Reading & Leads sold a combined 100,000 tickets in 72 hours. Live Nation also produces one of the U.K.’s biggest electronic festivals, Creamfields, which reported selling out all 70,000 tickets in just 48 hours.
“We are seeing… what we’ve been talking about: [fans] are excited to get back to the show as soon as we get the green lights in these markets to open up,” Rapino told analysts.
Meanwhile, stateside, Rapino offered sunny projections which showed that Live Nation is ready to get back to full-scale events. When asked about New York arenas re-opening to 10% capacity he said, “[We] have not, to date, done a lot of work in the 0% to 50% capacity business. We don’t see that as a viable model to ramp back up [considering the] fixed cost.”
Instead, Rapino pointed to conversations he has had with governors in what Music Business Worldwide referred to as “key U.S. states”, stating that his outline for a return to 75—100% capacity events would be approved.
“[We] think we’re better off waiting for a high bar capacity moment in most of the states to ramp up and talk to the artists about getting paid properly,” Rapino said.
With more artists than ever wanting to tour and fans eager to make up for lost time, all signs point to even more concerts ahead. Thank you to all of our @LiveNation employees for their endless resilience and creativity – none of this would be possible without you pic.twitter.com/gdiapVYSyk
— Michael Rapino (@Michael_Rapino) February 25, 2021
This news comes as states along with major venues across the United States begin to ease restrictions and plan for spring and summer events with greater capacity. While New York eases restrictions on large venues like Madison Square Garden—which just announced a new show for October—neighboring New Jersey has followed suit by allowing 10% capacity crowds at indoor arenas with seating over 5,000 and 15% capacity for outdoor. Across the country in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shared projections of “expanding event and restaurant capacity to 75-80 percent in July.”
[H/T Music Business Worldwide]