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Concert sales are reaching record levels, despite surging delta variant

June was Ticketmaster's fourth-best month in history, in terms of ticket volume.
Boots In The Park 2021 Featuring Old Dominion, Dustin Lynch, Scotty McCreery & Ryan Griffin
Dustin Lynch performs on stage at Boots In The Park on August 01, 2021 in San Diego.Daniel Knighton / Getty Images
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After a year with almost no live shows, Live Nation’s Ticketmaster just had one of its best months ever in North America, a sign that audiences are ready to venture outside the home for events even with the new Covid delta variant surging.

On Tuesday, the world’s largest live-entertainment company reported second-quarter earnings that saw revenue climb to $575.9 million, up 677 percent from the same period last year when large gatherings were limited due to the rampant spread of coronavirus.

Live Nation’s net loss narrowed to $195.7 million from $587.5 million in the year-ago period.

“The momentum for the return to live events has been building every month, with ticket sales and concert attendance pacing faster than expected, underscoring the strength and resiliency of the concert business and live events in general,” CEO Michael Rapino said during the company’s earnings call Tuesday.

Audiences are ready to venture outside the home for events — even with the new Covid delta variant surging.

The company said that most of its festivals have sold out quickly and average ticket prices are up 10 percent from 2019 levels.

For Ticketmaster, which is owned by Live Nation, June represented its fourth-best month in history in terms of ticket volume. The company said this was driven, in part, to a record number of U.S. concerts being available for purchase.

“We expect to have over 3 million fans attend our festivals during the second half of the year, with about two-thirds of our festivals increasing their attendance compared to 2019,” Rapino said. “While still early, we have delivered a strong double digit increase in average per fan revenue and in on-site spending versus 2019 at our amphitheater shows over the past few weeks.”

Rapino said 2022 and 2023 will be a “roaring era” for concerts and other live events.

Ticket sales have driven the company’s deferred revenue up to $2.1 billion, higher than the $1.6 billion Live Nation had at the end of the second quarter in 2019. This revenue is separated from the company’s other earnings because it is advanced payments for events that have not happened yet.

Live Nation’s deferred revenue is tied to more than 25 million tickets sold for concerts in the second half of 2021 and 14 million tickets sold for events in 2022.