UPDATE: Based on information provided by Pollstar, a previous version of this article stated that the North American concert industry lost more than $30 billion in 2020 — Pollstar later corrected that statistic to be the global concert industry.
The global live events industry lost more than $30 billion in 2020 due to the global pandemic, including $9.7 billion at the box office, according to the year-end report by live-entertainment industry trade publication Pollstar.
At the top of the year, the industry was projected to hit a record-setting $12.2 billion at the box office in 2020, but instead incurred $9.7 billion in Boxoffice losses after the industry effectively shut down completely in March.
The projected $30+ billion figure includes unreported events, ancillary revenues, including sponsorships, ticketing, concessions, merch, transportation, restaurants, hotels, and other economic activity tied to the live events, according to the report.
Additionally, these calculations took into consideration the losses among the 147,000 live businesses featured in Pollstar’s directories as well industry studies, which included 2018’s PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2018-2022 report and The 2017 Arts and Cultural Economic Activity study undertaken by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts.
“It’s been an extraordinarily difficult year for the events industry, which has been disproportionately impacted by the Coronavirus. As painful as it is to chronicle the adversity and loss our industry and many of our colleagues faced, we understand it is a critical undertaking towards facilitating our recovery, which is thankfully on the horizon,” said Ray Waddell, president of Oak View Group’s Media & Conferences Division, which oversees Pollstar and sister publication VenuesNow. “With vaccines, better testing, new safety and sanitization protocols, smart ticketing and other innovations, the live industry will be ramping up in the coming months, and we’re sure that at this time next year we’ll have a very different story to tell.”
You can read the full report here.
Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour” was the year’s tour tour with $87.1 million grossed between Nov. 30- through March 7; it was No. 2 on 2019’s tally with $212 million grossed. Rounding out the top 10 are Celine Dion, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, U2, Queen + Adam Lambert, Post Malone, Eagles, Jonas Brothers, Dead & Company, and Andrea Bocelli.
The $30+ billion in projected losses is derived from the 10.92% year-over-year growth rate tabulated in Q1, the last full quarter before the Pandemic. The $9.7 billion in Pollstar Boxoffice losses represents an increase over the $8.9 billion projected in Q1 as losses grew substantially after the quarter’s end.