It’s no secret that the summer 2010 season has been a difficult one for touring artists. Reports of cancelled concerts and axed tours have dampened what is traditionally one of the live entertainment industry’s biggest quarters.
Live Nation Entertainment shrugged off earlier reports that a spree of well publicized cancellations this summer was indicative of a deeper trend. However, during an investor and analyst meeting held in New York City on July 15, Live Nation acknowledged a decline in ticket sales during the first half of the year, and told investors to expect additional declines in the second half.
In the presentation, Live Nation said that ticket sales in the first half of the year dropped 12 percent for the top 100 touring acts, compared to 2009. The report echoed the downward trend first reported by Pollstar early last week.
But the “Investor and Analyst Day” report, available on Live Nation’s investor relations Web site, also indicated that sales would likely fall another 15 percent in the year’s second half.
Live Nation also estimated its adjusted operating income for the year would be around $405 million, down from last year’s $445 million. However, in a worst-case scenario projection within the report, earnings could fall as low as $365 million.
The presentation led to an afternoon sell-off of Live Nation Entertainment shares, publicly traded under the symbol LYV. Shares dropped approximately 16 percent to $9.59 at one point during the afternoon, according to the Associated Press, before closing the day at $10.19.
But that regained ground gave way again on July 16, as LYV stock opened at $9.75 and continued its landslide through the afternoon. At one point during the afternoon, stock was down as much as 13.54 percent to $8.81, based on real-time data from the NYSE.
As stocks began slipping during the July 15 presentation, Chief Executive Michael Rapino acknowledged the dip and was quoted by the AP as saying, “We had a real buzz kill at about Slide 9 when I saw the e-mails go out.”
Executive Chairman Irving Azoff also commented on the sell-off, appearing via video conference. He said, “I’m hoping that what I’m seeing as all you guys e-mail back to your offices to dump the stock isn’t indicative of the fact that we have a group of investors that are so shortsighted.”
Live Nation listed U2, Christina Aguilera, the Eagles and Rihanna among its key summer 2010 touring acts in a May 10 supplement to the company’s Q1 report. However, each of those artists has experienced setbacks on the road this summer.
U2 recently rescheduled its North American tour for spring and summer 2011. Its national tour plans for summer 2010 were postponed so Bono could undergo and recover from back surgery.
Other artists like Aguilera have not been as quick to put dates back on the books. The singer cancelled her 2010 tour due to “prior commitments” in favor of a later, yet-to-be-announced tour itinerary. Additionally, the Eagles and Rihanna both have experienced scattered concert cancellations on their summer calendars.