Description

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the U.S Future of Live Events , including the behaviors, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Prior to March 2020, the US live events market was strong, driven by stable attendance and rapidly rising ticket prices. Once the lockdown period started, however, in-person live events ground to a halt, and most consumers remain concerned about the health implications of attending an event in person. Livestreamed feeds of events and performances have emerged to fill the void in the absence of in-person theater, comedy and concerts. As the reemergence stage of the pandemic continues, both in-person and virtual events will need to innovate to keep fans engaged and willing to pay for tickets.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our US Leisure Time market research.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on live and virtual event attendance.
  • Industry reactions to COVID-19-related event cancellations and disruptions.
  • Expected impact of the recession on live events during the recovery period.
  • Potential opportunities for virtual events post-pandemic.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Kristen Boesel, a leading analyst in the Lifestyles and Leisure sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The COVID-19 pandemic marks a turning point for live events. For most consumers, attending an event or performance in person is off the table until they can be sure their health will not be put at risk. In a matter of months, livestreamed performances have evolved and so have consumers’ expectations for quality and interactivity. Streaming and ticketing platforms will battle it out in the re-emergence period as virtual events continue to be a way of life, but for virtual events to remain viable post-pandemic, they must offer a digital experience that the ‘real world’ cannot.

Kristen Boesel
Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Definition
    • COVID-19: US context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Live and virtual events attended in 2019 and 2020, September 2020
    • Impact of COVID-19 on live events and performances
      • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on live events, November 2020
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Most consumers are avoiding in-person events
      • Figure 3: Attitudes toward attending live events during COVID-19 pandemic, September 2020
    • Strictly enforced safety precautions could put some fans at ease
      • Figure 4: Percentage who would attend an in-person event, by venue type, September 2020
      • Figure 5: Measures that would make consumers feel safer in a crowd, September 2020
    • Few consumers feel willing to pay for livestreamed events
      • Figure 6: Agreement that paying for access to livestreams during COVID-19 pandemic is worth it, September 2020
    • Corporate sponsorships, interactivity and alternate realities
    • Millennials make an ideal target
      • Figure 7: Age of 2019 and 2020 live event attendees, September 2020
  3. Live Events Market – Key Takeaways

    • Until recently, the live event market was quite strong
    • The COVID-19 pandemic marks a key turning point for this industry
    • Virtual reality holds the key to the future of digital events
  4. Live Events by the Numbers

    • The concert industry was booming until April 2020
    • Five-year period saw remarkable market growth
      • Figure 8: Top 100 North American tours, total gross and tickets sold, 2015-19
    • Pricier shows, not larger audiences, driving growth in concert revenue
      • Figure 9: Top 100 North American tours, average ticket price, 2015-19
    • “Last chance” tours mean veteran stars can command extravagant ticket prices
      • Figure 10: Top 10 North American tours, 2019
    • Revenue growth for Broadway in New York and on the road
      • Figure 11: Revenue for Broadway productions, by season, 2015-19
    • Curtains are not expected to rise on Broadway any time soon
    • Theaters ask Congress to Save Our Stages
    • Strong start to 2020 cut short by COVID-19 pandemic
      • Figure 12: Share of adults who attend live events, April 2015-June 2020
    • A third of Americans have already ventured out to live events
      • Figure 13: Percentage of adults who attended an event in person since March, by venue type, September 2020
  5. Market Factors

    • Impact of COVID-19 on live events and performances
      • Figure 14: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on live events, November 2020
    • Lockdown
    • Re-emergence
    • Recovery
    • Economic challenges
    • Learnings from the last recession
      • Figure 15: Unemployment rate, among civilians aged 16+, 2017-30
  6. Market Opportunities

    • Advancements in digital entertainment could make virtual events viable
      • Figure 16: BRCvr’s welcome video, August 2020
    • Consumers are sympathetic to the plight of local venues
      • Figure 17: Agreement that it is important to support community’s small venues, September 2020
    • Now is the time to build younger audiences for older art forms
    • Highlight diverse personalities to appeal to consumers’ interest in equality
      • Figure 18: Swan Lake with Misty Copeland, Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil, August 2019
    • Embrace digital entertainment
    • Spotlight on New York’s Metropolitan Opera
      • Figure 19: Met Stars Live in Concert, July 2020
  7. Competitive Strategies – Key Takeaways

    • Live performances move outdoors
    • A complicated online ecosystem is in flux
    • Livestreams offer new opportunities
    • Streaming subscription services emerge as theater allies
    • Digital avatars and alternate worlds offer possibilities
  8. Competitive Strategies

    • Take it outside
    • The show must go on
    • You can stand up anywhere
    • Concert venues reorganize for outdoor shows
    • Indoor concerts are possible, but pricing may determine profitability
    • Music festivals take to the internet
      • Figure 20: Official Trailer | Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert | YouTube Originals, April 2020
    • Livestreams go mainstream
    • BTS breaks records with a bang
    • Competition heats up among livestreaming platforms
    • New agency opportunities to support livestreaming business
    • Corporate sponsorships can keep streaming experiences free for fans
    • Paid streaming services already exploring streaming stage shows
    • Phoebe Waller-Bridge partners with Amazon Prime Video to fundraise
    • Disney+ brings Hamilton to the masses
    • Netflix will reportedly debut new Princess Diana musical
    • Audience interaction will keep virtual events appealing post-pandemic
    • Red Rocks Unpaused
    • Forward-looking stars become avatars for virtual concerts
  9. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Most adults attended a live event or performance in 2019
    • Being there in-person is best
    • Concerns about COVID-19 continue
    • Outdoor venues are best for the foreseeable future
    • Virtual events gain traction
    • Many consumers are unwilling to pay for livestreams of events
  10. Events Attended In Person

    • Consumers were drawn to concerts, comedy and musical theater last year
      • Figure 21: Live, in-person events attended in 2019, September 2020
    • Men are more likely than women to attend live events
      • Figure 22: Live, in-person events attended in 2019, by gender, September 2020
    • Millennials, not Gen Z, are the most engaged audience for live events
    • Concerts offer a broader appeal
      • Figure 23: Live, in-person events attended in 2019, by age, September 2020
    • Comedy, not music, appears to be a universal language
      • Figure 24: Live, in-person events attended in 2019, by race and Hispanic origin, September 2020
  11. Ticket Purchasing

    • Half of 2019’s event attendees bought tickets through a ticket distributor
      • Figure 25: Ticket purchase methods for events attended in 2019, September 2020
    • Younger consumers less reliant on traditional purchase channels
      • Figure 26: Ticket purchase methods for events attended in 2019, by age, September 2020
    • Free platforms are preferred for virtual events
      • Figure 27: Preferred platforms for paid virtual events, September 2020
    • Millennials are most willing to pay for access to virtual events
      • Figure 28: Preferred platforms for paid virtual events, by age, September 2020
  12. Safety Concerns

    • Right now, most consumers would choose a virtual event over an in-person one
      • Figure 29: Preference for in-person vs virtual events, September 2020
    • Black and Asian consumers may be more cautious
      • Figure 30: Preference for in-person vs virtual events, by race and Hispanic origin, September 2020
    • COVID-19 concerns pose a temporary barrier for in-person attendance
    • Appreciation for in-person experiences will keep live events alive
      • Figure 31: Attitudes toward attending live events during COVID-19 pandemic, September 2020
    • Mandatory face masks make consumers feel safer than other measures
      • Figure 32: Measures that would make consumers feel safer in a crowd, September 2020
  13. Venue Preferences

    • Currently, outdoor venues are much preferred
      • Figure 33: Venue preferences, September 2020
    • Some consumers would attend events in person while COVID-19 is a risk
      • Figure 34: Percentage who would attend an in-person event, by venue type, September 2020
    • Younger Millennials most comfortable with live events right now
      • Figure 35: Percentage who would attend an in-person event at specific venue types, by age, September 2020
  14. Virtual Events Attended

    • Virtual events helped fill the void for fans this year
      • Figure 36: Virtual events attended in 2020, September 2020
    • Opportunity to engage women in virtual events
      • Figure 37: Virtual events attended in 2020, by gender, September 2020
    • Consumers under age 45 drive the virtual events market as well
      • Figure 38: Virtual events attended in 2020, by age, September 2020
    • Social media apps currently dominate among virtual event platforms
      • Figure 39: Platforms used to attend virtual events in 2020, September 2020
  15. Virtual Event Preferences

    • The thrill of watching something unfold live is not gone
      • Figure 40: Preference for pre-recorded vs. livestreamed virtual events, September 2020
    • Not all consumers see value in paying for livestreams
      • Figure 41: Agreement that paying for access to livestreams during COVID-19 pandemic is worth it, September 2020
    • Paying for a video feed comes with the expectation of ownership
      • Figure 42: Preference for exclusive, one-time livestream or access to video that can be watched repeatedly, September 2020
  16. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Consumer qualitative research
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  17. Appendix – The Consumer

      • Figure 43: Share of adults who attend live events, April 2015-June 2020
      • Figure 44: Daily social media use, by platform, January-October 2020

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