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Tradestream pair trade: long Broadway, short concerts

While 2010 was a really down year for the music industry in terms of tickets/revenues for live shows, Broadway seems to be enjoying a bull market of sorts.

Fewer concert tickets were sold for less money — about 15% down.
Year End Top Worldwide Concert Tours

From Pollstar

The Top 50 Tours Worldwide grossed a combined $2.93 billion which was

down about 12% from last year’s $3.34 billion. Total tickets sold was 38.3 million which was down about 15% or 7 million from 2009′s 45.3 million. Total show count was down about 8% to 2,650. The only number to increase was the average ticket price which went up $2.86 or about 4%.

While Bon Jovi enjoyed his success as top concert music attraction, his peers suffered.  I have to believe Facebook, reality TV, a crappy economy, and the rise of heavily produced/autotuned bubble gum performers have all inhibited couch potatoes from getting out there and partying like it’s 1999.

While this is bad for the industry, there is a silver lining for concert-goers:

If your idea of happiness is seeing a band that tours constantly in a slightly smaller venue than it played in the last time it came through town, for significantly less money, 2011 could plaster a perma-smile onto your face. If you want to see Bon Jovi or Roger Waters or Dave Matthews or The Eagles or any of the other artists in Pollstar‘s Top 50, who routinely sell out large venues at high premiums — or if you tend to steer clear of the big arenas in favor of smaller bands in cozier rooms — 2011 might seem like more of the same.

Broadway bucks bad economy, couch potatoes

The same can’t be said about Broadway, though. According to the NY Times, Broadway

enjoyed a Boffo year in 2010 (although sales were up merely 3%).

Shows grossed a total of $1.037 billion in the 2010 calendar year compared to $1.004 billion in 2009, according to statistics compiled by the Broadway League, the trade group of theater owners and producers. Roughly 12.11 million people saw a Broadway show in 2010, while 11.95 million went in 2009.

This could just be another case of the different realities Wall Street and Main Street are occupying now.  Theater ticket prices routinely hit $250-$350 a pop for premium seating (which makes taking the wife and 5 kids out, well, prohibitively expensive).

Investors in concerts

LiveNation ($LYV) is the the world’s largest live concert producer, by market capitalization, having merged with Ticketmaster in early 2010.  It produced nearly 22,000 concerts for 2,000 artists in 42 countries during 2009.  It had a rocky 2010 but ended up about 30% for the year.


Top Tours 2010 (Pollstar)

How the Disasterous 2010 Concert Season Could Work in Your Favor (NPR)

A Boffo Year for Broadway (NY Times)

  • http://steamcatapult.com/ Dave Pinsen

    Interesting post, Zack. The couple of Broadway shows we went to last year (both on weeknights) were both packed. What’s your publicly trade play on Broadway?

    Re LYV, it popped up on my radar screen via Short Screen last summer, but I didn’t short it.

  • http://www.tradestreaming.com Tradestreaming

    Unfortunately, I don’t have an easy way to go long Broadway…

  • http://newrulesofinvesting.com/2011/01/09/top-recent-posts-at-tradestreaming/ Top articles on investing at Tradestreaming | New Rules of Investing

    [...] Tradestream pair trade: Go long Broadway, short concerts: While concert goers cut back on attending live performances, that doesn’t seem to be the case for musicals.  Read more. [...]

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Tradestreaming is a community of investors learning directly from experts. I’m Zack Miller, investor, entrepreneur, and founder of Tradestreaming.com and I literally wrote the book on how to invest in the age of Facebook and Twitter. Tradestreaming is the resource I’ve created to help me become a better investor.  I believe it will help you … Continue Reading