Live Events: US Market Size
Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the live event industry in the United States was a USD 34-billion industry. It is projected to lose at most 80% of its revenue this year, however, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If the industry were to lose 80% of its revenue, it would record a market size of USD 6.8 billion by year-end. The current number of live event attendees is not publicly available, but figures from live event platform Eventbrite show that the number of tickets sold in the country on its platform had dropped from around 16.9 million in Q2 2019 to 2.8 million in Q2 2020, and from around 17 million in Q3 2019 to around 4.8 million in Q3 2020. Most live event professionals do not expect a return to pre-COVID-19 levels by 2021.
Market Size in Dollars
- An article published by BizBash, a Georgia-based resource for event professionals in North America, shows that before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the live event industry was contributing around USD 1 trillion to the United States economy. According to this article, the industry is now projected to lose at most 80% of its supposed revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Though the article shows the contribution of the industry to the United States economy in terms of direct and indirect spending, it does not provide the size or revenue of the industry. A study commissioned by Elite Core Audio, an Arkansas-based event equipment provider, shows, however, that the live event industry in the United States is a USD 34-billion industry.
- If the live event industry were to lose 80% of its supposed USD 34-billion revenue this year, it would record a final market size of USD 6.8 billion.
- The projection that the industry would lose at most 80% of its annual revenue appears consistent with the results of a recently completed survey. Based on a survey conducted in late July 2020 by Live Design, a New York-based resource for professionals in the live events industry, 71.96% of businesses in the industry have lost more than 75% of their revenue since March 2020.
- According to this survey, only 8.41% of businesses in the live event industry expect their business to return to pre-COVID-19 levels by 2021. The rest expect their business to return to pre-COVID-19 levels no earlier than 2022. Nearly 30% of the respondents expect full recovery by 2024 at the earliest.
- Eventbrite, a leading industry player that provides a platform for planning, promoting, and producing live events, reported that its net revenue in the United States had dropped by 40.82% from USD 59.780 million in Q1 2019 to USD 35.377 million in Q1 2020, by 89.53% from USD 58.687 million in Q2 2019 to USD 6.250 million in Q2 2020, and by 78.62% from USD 59.364 million in Q3 2019 to USD 12.691 million in Q3 2020.
Market Size in Terms of Attendees
- The current number of live event attendees in the United States could not be located in the public domain, but some sources offer helpful insights. For example, an article published by Reuters indicates that less than 50% of American adults plan to attend live events such as concerts and sports events before a proven coronavirus vaccine becomes available. An article published by Billboard also indicates that in 2019, 62 million fans in the United States attended concerts that were promoted by Live Nation, several millions attended concerts that were promoted by AEG and independent promoters, 68 million attended Major Leage Baseball events, and 36 million attended Minor Leage Baseball events.
- Based on these figures, it appears that before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were at least 68 million people attending live events in the United States.
- A number of sources also offer a glimpse into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on live event attendance. Eventbrite's quarterly reports, for example, indicate that Eventbrite's paid ticket volume in the United States dropped by 18.9% from around 17.567 million in Q1 2019 to around 14.254 million in Q1 2020, by 83.2% from around 16.878 million in Q2 2019 to around 2.833 million in Q2 2020, and by 72.1% from around 17.026 million in Q3 2019 to around 4.751 million in Q3 2020.
- The quarterly reports of event promoter Live Nation also show that Live Nation's number of 'fans' or event attendees in North America dropped by 35.6% from 8.965 million in Q1 2019 to 5.773 million in Q1 2020, by 82.3% from 15.844 million in Q2 2019 to 8,000 in Q2 2020, and by 65.8% from 2.777 million in Q3 2019 to 208,000 in Q3 2020.
- The figures in the preceding tables show that live event attendance had dropped by as much as 80% in the second and third quarters of 2020.
The current number of live event attendees or live event tickets sold in the United States could not be located in recently published articles and reports, including those published by market research firms, trade associations, industry players, and news outlets. Live event attendance figures could be seen in older sources, but they do not seem relevant anymore considering the COVID-19 crisis. Insights about Live Nation event attendees and tickets sold on the live event platform Eventbrite were provided in their stead.