Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino Thursday told a gather of media insiders that he expects 2009 to be a flat year in...

Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino Thursday told a gather of media insiders that he expects 2009 to be a flat year in the live entertainment business.

As reported by Reuters, Rapino told the audience at the Reuters Media Summit in New York that he expects about 10 percent growth in concert attendance by the end of the year, but that he does not expect a repeat of that next year, due to the slowing economy. In January, the company will launch its new ticketing operation, which will include selling tickets from more than 500 Blockbuster DVD rental outlets.

“We’re not going out there saying we will grow the business next year,” Rapino reportedly told the crowd. “If we can get through the economic crisis on a flat comparable basis on inventory that would be an incredible win.”

Live Nation is pulling out all the stops to launch its ticketing operation, which will compete directly with its former client, industry heavyweight Ticketmaster Entertainment. Besides the recent Blockbuster deal, Live Nation also signed a deal with venue operations powerhouse SMG to handle the ticket sales in facilities SMG manages.

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