In a letter to shareholders this week, ticketing site Eventbrite shared their 2020 First Quarter earnings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Within days of learning of the virus, Eventbrite said they mobilized to strengthen Eventbrite and support its creators by migrating live events, flexed on their refund policy and partnered with Get Up! to issue approximately $850,000 in gift cards to future events as an alternative to refunds, and launched a program to help creators receive donations from their communities.
From there, the company expanded upon Eventbrite’s leadership by “refocusing our strategy to create value for our most active creators” by planning to enhance their product to meet creators’ needs, introduced access permissioning features, and plan to offer improved email campaign tools and better marketing functionality through its partners.
For the first quarter, Eventbrite brought in a net revenue of $49.1 million, which included a $19.1 million increase in refunded ticket fees. However, the company’s net loss was $146.5 million for the first quarter, compared to a net loss of $10.0 million in the same period last year. Over $100 million of charges and reserve increases were due to the impact of COVID-19, with $76.5 million increase in reserves in anticipation of future chargebacks and refunds.
While ticket sales trends have improved from the mid-March low point due to small gatherings and online events, restrictions on events across the industry mean that ticket sales will be constrained for several quarters throughout the remainder of the year.
Right now, the live event industry is ultimately halted. In order to better position the company for the future, Eventbrite said they have “taken swift action to respond to the impact of COVID-19” by announcing a reduction program which is on track to deliver $100 million in annualized cost savings by the fourth quarter of 2020. Additionally, the company announced a credit facility with Francisco Partners to provide access of up to $225 million in additional funding – allowing greater flexibility in recovery outcomes.
“We anticipate that small-and medium-sized events that are core to Eventbrite’s success will likely resume earlier and serve as the primary mode for live events for some time,” Eventbrite said in the earnings summary. “We also believe these smaller-sized events will likely occur more frequently to satisfy pent-up demand as larger events are expected to take longer to come back.”
Going forward, the company said that its creators will need to rebuild their businesses in this changed world and come up with cost-effective ways and “easy-to deploy solutions.” They’ll also need help attracting customers once again – in a world suddenly halted – and re-engage audiences. Nonetheless, Eventbrite said the company will “be there to empower creators’ success no matter how their events take shape. ”
“We have taken swift and decisive action over the last 60 days to adapt to this new environment,” Eventbrite said. “To serve creators through this crisis and as live events resume, we are sharpening our strategic focus around three important initiatives: delivering an intuitive self-service experience that provides control and agility, creating value for our most active creators, and driving demand to experiences on our platform.”
See the full quarter information via Eventbrite’s letter to shareholders here.
Eventbrite’s news follows Live Nation’s first quarter earnings report last week. During an investor earnings call, Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino reported that there was a 21% loss in revenue for the quarter following widespread cancellations. Going forward, he said the company would test crowdless broadcasted shows, reduced capacity festivals, and drive-in move theater concerts over the summer.