MCD back in profit last year as ticket sales rose


CONCERT PROMOTER MCD Productions returned to profit last year after recording an 8 per cent increase in the number of concert tickets sold.

Chief executive Denis Desmond confirmed the firm returned to profit last year after recording a loss in 2010.

US-based trade journal Pollstar confirms that MCD was the 10th-largest promoter in the world last year in terms of tickets sold, at 1.54 million, after Live Nation, which sold 22 million.

Mr Desmond said: “We are very happy to be up there. It is a lot of tickets sold. Irish people love their music and their concerts.”

The 1.54 million tickets sold marks an increase of 110,000, up from 1.43 million in 2010.

MCD Productions does not file annual accounts as it is an unlimited company. However, an auditor’s report lodged by auditors DKC confirms MCD recorded a loss in the 12 months to the end of December 2010.

Mr Desmond said 2010 was a busy year but the company recorded a loss arising from costs associated with a structural re-organisation and write-down of irrecoverable debts. He declined to comment further on the structural re-organisation.

However, the firm’s bottom line would have taken a hit in 2010 from costs associated with the High Court case involving Mr Desmond and Eamonn McCann over their business partnership, which was settled in December 2010.

On the bad debts, Mr Desmond said: “We’re not as trusting as we once were. We pay the artists up front and now we make sure that we are paid up front as well.”

This summer MCD will bring Madonna, Lady Gaga, Jay Z and Kanye West, Westlife, The Stone Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, David Guetta and the Swedish House Mafia to Ireland.

However, figures from Pollstar underline the impact MCD’s decision to not to stage Oxegen in 2012 will have on the firm’s revenues.

According to Pollstar, Oxegen generated the fifth-biggest box office across the world outside the US last year, with 191,656 tickets sold, generating €14.7 million in revenue.

This compares to Oxegen being the fourth-highest-grossing box office event in 2010, with 225,000 tickets sold, generating €16.4 million in revenues.

The figures also show that the sold-out Kings of Leon gig at Slane Castle last year generated ticket sales of €5.7 million for MCD, while the promoter’s Neil Diamond gig in Dublin last June was the 98th-highest-grossing concert outside the US, generating revenues of €2.4 million.

Mr Desmond said Oxegen will return next year, adding that the costs of staging Oxegen, including insurance and policing, are “very high. We need to lower our overheads with Oxegen, but it will be back next year.”

Mr Desmond said that 2012 “is looking very positive”.

MCD currently employs 37 people at its Dublin office, and Mr Desmond said MCD shows in Dublin produce an average annual dividend of €100 million for the local economy, with hotels and retail among the businesses to benefit. Oxegen produces a yearly dividend of €40 million for the Kildare area.