New research from O2 and its Priority Tickets platform suggests that the live sector has rebounded following the impact of the pandemic.
The platform has reported a 43% increase in ticket sales compared to 2019. Priority Tickets 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.
O2 has a long history in music and entertainment, as the naming rights partner of The O2 when AEG opened the doors to the now-famous venue in 2007.
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 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.
Through the long-running partnerships and the Priority platform, O2 has offered access to 20,000 events since 2019 alone.
Here, Gareth Griffiths, director of partnerships and sponsorship at Virgin Media O2, goes deeper on the power of the Priority Tickets platform…
How has O2 Priority expanded and evolved its partnerships with venues?
“Now that O2 has joined forces with Virgin Media, Virgin Media broadband customers can access Priority Tickets for thousands of gigs and events across the UK via Priority. We are in more than half of UK homes, so we have a huge customer base we can talk to directly. We have The O2 and our 20 O2 Academy venues, plus we work across another 300-plus UK venues through our promoter relationships with Live Nation, AEG Presents, SJM, Kilimanjaro Live, DF and more.”
Our presales are often used to understand high demand within the market before extra shows are added
What are the key benefits for fans who use Priority?
“The key benefit for our customers is access to Priority Tickets to the hottest shows up to 48 hours before general release. Our venue benefits include fast tracked entry via Priority queues, free cloakrooms, free use of phone-charging stations – all through our O2 Priority app.”
How important is Priority access for live music to O2’s customer offer - does it help to drive growth in sales to O2 customers?
“Live music is the number one passion point for O2 and Virgin Media customers. By continuing to invest in our venues and music partnerships, we stay relevant to our customers in a fast-changing world. There is nothing like the live venue experience, and this continues to be our absolute focus and priority.”
How have O2 Priority ticket sales increased since before the pandemic to now?
“We’ve seen a 43% increase in Priority Tickets sales post pandemic. 2022 was our strongest year since we launched in 2005. Retention levels get stronger every year.”
Gareth Griffiths with Ed Sheeran and Dynamo at the O2 Silver Clef Awards in 2019
What were the biggest music events in 2022 - and some of the biggest in 2023?
“Our biggest Priority Tickets presales of 2022 were Harry Styles, Chris Brown and The Weeknd, some of our biggest pre-sales so far in 2023 have been Beyonce, Mickey Flanagan and SZA.”
What are the advantages for artists for O2 Priority - does high demand help promoters and agents to make informed decisions about adding shows to tours?
“O2 has spent years building its credibility, making sure that we play a valuable role within the live music industry through Priority. We don’t take any cut or commission from ticket sales; all tickets can be sold via any official ticketing site and shows can be anywhere across the UK. Our breadth of marketing channels and first party data not only helps build artist awareness, but it contributes significantly to artist ticket sales, allowing us to talk directly to their loyal and passionate fanbase through our owned channels, direct to our customers.
“As O2 and Virgin Media combined, our reach is unparalleled. With our credibility and active customer base, our presales are often used to understand high demand within the market before extra shows are added.”
Subscribers can read our interview with The O2’s team.