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TICKET TO GLIDE: LIVE NATION'S STRONG Q1

Live Nation again beat estimates across the board in the first quarter of 2018 as revenue was up 19% to $1.48b, the company promoted nearly 4,900 shows, a 22% rise over 2017 and Ticketmaster had its largest quarter in history.

“We have now booked enough concerts, sold enough tickets and have enough sponsorship commitments to be confident that we will have a successful 2018, delivering double-digit operating income and AOI growth for the year,” Chairman and CEO Michael Rapino said in announcing the results.

Among the highlights for the quarter:

Ticketmaster sold 53m fee-bearing tickets and has added 135 clients in 19 countries;

AOI was up 24% to $114m;

And average ticket prices are up double digits across amphitheaters, area and stadium tickets sold for shows so far this year.

Through April, the company has booked nearly 5,000 arena, stadium and amphitheater shows, up 21% over this point last year. Amphitheaters are leading the charge with 27% rises in show count. Rapino and company expect the average spend per fan to grow by at least $2.50 this summer.

The company also today introduced a partnership with Blink, a tech start-up focused on biometrics that has created a facial recognition technology that allows a ticketholder to associate a digital ticket with a facial image.

And in the wake of LN's acquisition of a stake in Rock in Rio, everyone's talking about the new Brazilian cocktail known as the Rapiñho: it's just a shot of rum, juice of a single lime and a handful of uncut diamonds.

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