In the 1980s and 1990s, Bullseye was a popular darts-based British TV game show, complete with a ‘look at what you could have won’ element where losing contestants were shown the grand prize they’d just failed to win. It’s hard not to be reminded of that by Pollstar’s announcement on Friday of its estimate for what global live-music box-office revenues *would* have been in 2020, if the coronavirus pandemic hadn’t stopped the live industry dead in its tracks.
“The preliminary gross revenue for the Q1 Top 100 Tours chart was up 10.9% over 2019’s record-setting year to $840 million for 2020 while ticket sales rose 4.5% to 9.4 million,” it reported. “Based on that growth, Pollstar can project the year’s box office would have reached $12.2 billion had Q1’s percentage growth remained constant.” And if you felt bleak reading that last sentence, try the next one: “Pollstar can also forecast the live industry would lose up to $8.9 billion of revenue if the rest of 2020 were to remain dark”. It did suggest that this is a “worst-case scenario and certainly not what is expected”.
The news came as live giant CTS Eventim withdrew its financial guidance for 2020, noting that while it expects a “significant” year-on-year drop in revenues “that decrease cannot be quantified with any greater precision at present”.