• 2022 saw the most tickets ever sold for live entertainment in the UK, with a 43% increase compared to 2019 – the last full year unimpacted by the pandemic
  • New research from Virgin Media O2 also shows that, despite the cost of living crisis, 64% of Brits plan to cut back on other costs to prioritise spending on watching live entertainment
  • O2 and its Priority Tickets platform offers Virgin Media broadband and O2 customers exclusive early access to some of the biggest events and venues in the UK with the ability to purchase tickets 48-hours before general sale
  • Some of 2022’s biggest live events available via Priority included Peter Kay’s new stand-up tour, The Weeknd, Sam Fender, Harry Styles, Chris Brown and Bruce Springsteen

New research from O2 and its Priority Tickets platform suggest that the live entertainment industry has bounced back from the impact of the pandemic, with 2022 seeing a record number of tickets sold across a single calendar year.

While the pandemic had a huge impact on the live entertainment industry, bringing performances across the globe to a standstill throughout 2020 and 2021, figures from O2’s Priority Tickets platform confirm that 2022 was the year live entertainment made its comeback with a 43% increase in ticket sales compared to 2019.

The platform also experienced a 50% increase in visits during the same timeframe. Through partnerships with AEG and Live Nation, O2 provided its Priority members with 48-hour early access to tickets at 5,000 popular events and 300 venues across the UK including The O2 and 20 O2 Academy venues during 2022.

In addition to the insights from Priority, Virgin Media O2 commissioned new research which found that the nation’s appetite for live entertainment is here to stay, regardless of the current economic climate.

Nearly nine in ten (84%) claim that live entertainment is their favourite pastime and two thirds (64%) stated that they will prioritise their monthly spending to afford being able to see their favourite performer.

The most popular events of 2022 according to data from O2 and Priority include Peter Kay’s new stand-up tour, The Weeknd, Sam Fender, Harry Styles, Chris Brown and Bruce Springsteen among several other huge shows.

Priority is O2’s way of saying thanks to its customers and is available exclusively to those with an O2 mobile plan or Virgin Media broadband services. In addition to early ticket access to events at The O2, the O2 Academy network and other popular venues across the UK, Priority members can benefit from free bag drop, queue jump, cloakroom services, phone charging, VIP hospitality and discounts on merchandise.

Gareth Griffiths, Director of Partnerships and Sponsorship at Virgin Media O2, said: “2022 truly was the return of live entertainment with millions of tickets sold at thousands of events right across the UK. Through our 48-hour early access to Priority Tickets for O2 and Virgin Media customers, we provide an exclusive gateway for fans of live music, comedy, sport and entertainment to experience and capture unforgettable live moments. 2023 is already shaping up to be even bigger, with The O2 and our 20 O2 Academy venues packed out.”

Jim Campling, President of Live Nation UK’s Marketing Partnerships, said: “We’ve had the privilege of working closely with O2 since 2005 and are proud of the value Priority Tickets has created for O2 and their customers. Whether customers live in London, Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool or anywhere else in the UK, O2 Priority is a strong rewards programme that creates relevant, tangible benefits for customers and communities across the country. We look forward to supporting O2 on providing meaningful ways to engage Priority members as live entertainment continues to be a cherished part of people’s lives.”

Paul Samuels, Executive Vice President at AEG Global Partnerships, said: “2022 was an incredible year for The O2 – from celebrating our 15th birthday, to hosting 10 nights of Queen + Adam Lambert and the Laver Cup, with Roger Federer’s final professional match. It’s clear that the demand for live entertainment and seeing world-class acts perform remains really strong even in the current economic climate and this is something which is reflected in the ticket sale trends that we’ve seen, with numbers continuing to grow even more in 2023 with the likes of Madonna and Mickey Flanagan being announced. We’re proud to have a naming rights partner who prioritises the fan experience as much as we do through platforms such as Priority, and are looking forward to a bigger and better 2023 at the world’s most popular venue.”

O2 has a long, rich history in music and entertainment as the naming rights partner of The O2 when AEG opened the doors to the now world-famous music, leisure and entertainment venue in 2007.

The mobile operator also launched Priority, its flagship customer generosity programme, alongside the opening of The O2 which provides its users with exclusive perks and rewards from weekly deals to early access to tickets for thousands of events every year.

It also has a partnership with Live Nation and Academy Music Group which has helped provide unparalleled access to concerts and venues at 20 O2 Academy venues for Priority members across the country.

Through these long running partnerships and the Priority platform, O2 has connected millions of consumers to some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, offering access to 20,000 events since 2019 alone.


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