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The full financial impact of the pandemic in 2020 on the world’s biggest promoter has been revealed, with Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) reporting an 84% annual decline in revenue to $1.8 billion (£1.3bn) for the year.

The Ticketmaster owner reported annual ticketing revenue of $188.4 million (£133.5m) in 2020, down 88% year-on-year.

Its long-term debt had grown to $4.86bn (£3.49bn) at 31 December, compared with $3.27bn (£2.35bn) at the same point in 2019.

For the fourth quarter, LNE posted an adjusted operating income loss of $244.3m (£175.8), with its concerts division recording a loss of $166m (£119.5).

LNE experienced a 92% year-on-year revenue decline to $237.3m (£170.8m) in the final quarter, while its ticketing division’s quarterly revenue dropped by 98% to $10.9m (£7.84m). Concert revenue declined 92% to $178.4m (£128.4m).

For the full year, concerts generated $1.4bn (£1bn) but revenue was down 84% year-on-year.

In 2020 LNE staged 8,117 shows worldwide, compared to 40,237 worldwide in 2019.

“We continue to have a substantial tailwind in the live event industry, as consumers more than ever are looking to spend on experiences.”

The promoting giant said that as of 31 December 2020 it had cash reserves of $2.5bn (£1.8bn), including $674m (£485.1m) in ticketing client cash and $643m (£462m) in free cash. It said it had sufficient cash reserves to sustain the business until the expected return of concerts in the summer this year.

Despite the declines, LNE CEO Michael Rapino (pictured) said he expected the company to “return to live even stronger” having reducing its cost structure by $200m, and with 83% of fans continuing to hold onto their tickets for postponed shows.

Rapino said, “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.

“The $2.4 trillion [£1.72tn] projected surplus in savings in the U.S. alone by June is a key indicator of consumer spending potential. 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 behaviour 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, amphitheaters and stadiums to accommodate these additional tours, with over two-thirds of these venues’ nights unused by sporting events or major concerts in a typical year.”