Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Ticketmaster Ireland announce 15% bump in sales

Per a report in this morning’s Indo, the Irish branch of the ticket giant had a bumper 2009. The piece quotes Ticketmaster Ireland managing director Eamonn O’Connor: “despite everything, business held up during the year, with ticket sales up by …

Mon, Jan 4, 2010, 16:06

   

Per a report in this morning’s Indo, the Irish branch of the ticket giant had a bumper 2009. The piece quotes Ticketmaster Ireland managing director Eamonn O’Connor: “despite everything, business held up during the year, with ticket sales up by around 15pc on 2008″. There’s mention of the O2, of course, as well as shows by Bruce Springsteen, U2, Take That and others.

The article doesn’t go into any great detail about the company’s actual turnover, but we can assume that the breakdown of income from services charges and money paid out in terms of wages, rent, advances etc will be contained in the annual accounts. While there is no mention of the actual volume or value of tickets sold, a 15 per cent rise in sales year on year is pretty good work in the middle of a recession. Indeed, the statement from the company was subsequently used to paint a very rosy picture of the Irish live music business sector on today’s Morning Ireland radio show.

But when you do some back-of-an-envelope calculations, that 15 per cent bump seems a little on the conservative side.

Take the O2 (nee Point), for instance. The revamped Dublin venue is cited as one reason for the increase in sales. However seeing as the 8,500 Point became the 14,000 capacity O2, a 64.7 per cent jump in capacity according to my calculator, you would imagine that Ticketmaster were selling far more than just 15 per cent extra tickets for this venue compared to the previous year. Indeed, given that this venue was closed for much of 2008 due to building work and given the huge number of shows held in the O2 during 2009, Ticketmaster’s increase in ticket sales for this venue alone on a year-by-year basis must have been off the scale. Certainly, it would have been far in excess of 15 per cent.

The Indo piece does naturally acknowledge that there was some slippage beyond the undoubtedly huge and ongoing success of the O2 by mentioning a fall in turnout for festivals in 2009. While the Electric Picnic did claim a sell-out in the end (no change in total ticket sales there), that was one press release which MCD Concerts did not have to issue for last year’s Oxegen festival which failed to sell out. But surely that reduction in ticket sales wasn’t enough to reduce the huge increase gained from the volume O2 sales to just 15 per cent?

Then, as we know from the annual OTR gig census, there’s the fact that there was a slight rise in the number of outdoor shows and festivals in 2009 meaning more tickets to be sold. Plus you also had the sell-out Oasis (remember them?) gig at Slane Castle – there was no Slane Castle show the previous year – which meant an extra 80,000 ticket sales which Ticketmaster didn’t have to count in 2008. All things considered, 15 per cent does seem a little on the low-ish side – unless some shows which promoters claimed did really, really well did not actually do the business at all.