Billionaire businessman and Liberty Media Chairman John C. Malone doesn’t believe that the novel coronavirus will have a material impact on the long-term viability of the live-event sector.
The 79-year-old indicated as much during Liberty Media’s annual virtual meeting with stockholders, which took place this morning. “Human beings are gregarious by nature,” said the Connecticut native when explaining his stance on the matter. “Here in Florida, the bars are open, and they’re pretty packed.”
Further, Malone struck a hopeful tone when discussing the potential relief – to individuals and, in turn, the market – that will be created by a vaccine or other form of COVID-19 therapy.
On that front, the federal government announced today that the Department of Health and Human Services will provide up to $1.2 billion to the UK’s AstraZeneca as it moves quickly to develop a viable vaccine; the company believes it can deliver initial doses as early as this September.
Liberty Media’s holdings stand to benefit tremendously from a relative return to normalcy and the reemergence of crowd-based live events. The publicly traded business owns the Atlanta Braves, Formula One, and a controlling share of SiriusXM, among other properties.
Some early signs – besides the reopening of economies across the United States and the world, as well as the immediate popularity of public gatherings – appear to support John C. Malone’s assessment. Fans quickly purchased tickets to America’s first socially distanced concert, which took place on Monday. Plus, ticket sales for drive-in film festivals and concerts have been encouraging.
Live Nation is preparing to test a socially distanced indoor concert next Friday, in Auckland, New Zealand.
Additionally, the leading concert-promotion company said in its Q1 2020 earnings report that only a small portion of ticketholders have asked for refunds. Also offering an upbeat take is Microsoft veteran Greg Maffei, who serves as Live Nation’s chairman and as Liberty Media’s president and CEO.
To date, medical professionals have diagnosed about 5.17 million worldwide COVID-19 cases, and nearly 330,000 individuals have perished as a result of the disease’s complications.