MCD records ‘strong’ profits

Concert promoters MCD Productions recorded “strong” profits last year in spite of a 22% drop in ticket sales to 1.2m.

Announcing that Oxegen is to return for two days on Aug 3 and 4 this year, MCD chief executive Denis Desmond said yesterday that he was “very happy with 1.2m sales in the current economic climate”.

Describing the 2012 profits as strong, Mr Desmond said that the biggest grossing shows of last year were two Westlife concerts at Croke Park and Madonna at the Aviva.

The level of profits at MCD is not known as it is an unlimited company and therefore not required to disclose annual profits and revenues.

However, figures from Pollstar show that gross revenues from MCD-promoted gigs at Dublin’s O2 Arena alone last year totalled over €20m, with the receipts shared between MCD, the artist, the venue, and Ticketmaster.

MCD gigs at the O2 last year included concerts by Robbie Williams, One Direction, and Van Morrison.

The 1.2m ticket sales saw MCD maintain its place as one of the top 10 promoters worldwide, with Pollstar recording that it was the 10th largest promoter in terms of ticket sales.

The biggest promoter worldwide was Live Nation with 25.1m tickets sold.

However, the tickets sold by MCD Productions last year represented a 22% drop on the 1.54m tickets it shifted in 2011.

Explaining the drop, Mr Desmond said: “The business is cyclical, plus there was no Slane or Oxegen in 2012 and this accounts for the reduction in sales.”

Mr Desmond said that unlike 2012, there will be two MCD-promoted gigs at Slane Castle this year, with Bon Jovi playing on Jun 15 and Eminem on Aug 17.

Mr Desmond said: “Sales are very good this year and the highlights so far are Michael Buble’s five nights at the O2, Rihanna at the Aviva, and Eminem and Bon Jovi at Slane Castle.”

The firm “rested” Oxegen last year and figures provided by Pollstar on the 2011 three-day festival underline the impact it had on MCD revenues last year.

In 2011, Oxegen generated the fifth biggest box office across the world outside the US, with 191,656 or 95% of tickets sold, generating €14.7m in revenues.

Mr Desmond said the line-up for Oxegen will be announced in late February.

Last year, Mr Desmond said the costs of staging the event, taking into account insurance and policing costs, “are very high”. He said: “We need to lower our overheads with Oxegen.”

According to Pollstar, the Westlife concerts at Croke Park last year attracted the 11th largest attendance at an outdoor stadium worldwide, with 187,808 attending the gigs.

The figures show MCD’s series of gigs at the Phoenix Park, which included a Swedish House Mafia gig that was marred by violence, attracted 135,053 people. Mr Desmond refused to comment on the fallout from the show, saying “our report on the Swedish House Mafia is on the MCD website”.

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