It is no secret that the average Australian household is feeling the stranglehold of the cost-of-living crisis. In the past 12 months, interest rates hikes have stretched household budgets, and this stress has been compounded by nervousness in the marketplace created by Tech redundancies, global banking issues, and job uncertainty.
However, what is perhaps reassuring for our industry is the 2022-23 summer that has seen Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snoop Dog, Pink, and Elton John play to packed stadium and venues across every State and Territory. SRI commends the boldness of these venues and the promoters who have trusted the appetite of the Australian public for talent.
Add to these events record attendances for the Australian Open, NBL Finals, Golden Slipper, UFC in Perth, and the opening weekends of the NRL and AFL bouncing to record crowds, and the outlook feels very positive. Nowhere in the world but Australia could attract 390,000 people to 9 games of football including 292,000 in one weekend that the MCG achieved in this last week. And the Grand Prix is anticipating a record attendance in Melbourne at the end of this month. It appears the hunger for live entertainment in Australia is at its most prominent than ever before.
Will live events continue to buck the cost-of-living crisis? How far can the live entertainment revenue stretch? Why does this counter all economic trends? Is this a creation of a post-pandemic world that has seen the Australian public crave the euphoria of live events? Is it just the quality of performers touring? Or is the football or the fan experience so much better? Or is better promoted? Or is it even more escapism from the rigours of the day-to-day? It could be any combination – or all – of these factors.
Whilst we continue to be on the cusp of recession and world issues are still dominating the news, Australians have not taken a step back in their thirst for live entertainment and sport. Lorde, Sam Smith, and Lizzo are all expected to play in front of record crowds and the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year has already sold-out. What is clear is that State & Territories are becoming increasingly competitive in their appetite to invest in the visitor and events economy, and long may this continue. It appears people are continuing to ensure the health of one its biggest sectors, despite ongoing day-to-day financial concerns. With the average consumer spending $4500 on sport and live entertainment per year, it appears the industry is moving to become recession-proof.
Even more encouraging is the States & Territories’ appetite to invest in the Events and Visitor economy. In front of us lies the anticipation and excitement of global sporting and entertainment events to come including the FIFA Women’s World Cup, a Rugby World Cup, and a host of World events on the 10-year pathway to the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games. We should not underestimate the health and well-being outcomes of this investment or the financial opportunity these events create. Long may this all continue!