Live Events Have Become An American Obsession

Even as new forms of digital entertainment compete for audiences’ attention, attending live events continues to be the pinnacle experience for most Americans. This year, nearly every American (99 percent) will attend at least one live, shared, or experiential event, and over half (52 percent) will attend up to 10 such events, including concerts, festivals, sports, theater performances and more.

Videos by American Songwriter

That’s according to the Fan Experience Index™, a study commissioned by FanDragon Technologies, the leading innovator in blockchain-powered SaaS ticket delivery solutions, The Fan Experience Index™ surveyed 1,200 U.S. adults (age 18+) to better understand how event costs, engagement and ticketing processes impact the overall audience experience.

Overall, the report shows that Americans love attending live events and see them as a crucial part of their social life. In fact, they are more willing to spend money on attending a live event versus jet setting on a vacation (74 percent), have taken time off from work or lied about being sick to attend or “recover” from a live event (67 percent), and use live events to hook up or make new connections (46 percent). Additionally, the report uncovers how far fans will go to “cheat the system” to stay connected to live events, and exposes consumers’ fears of ticketing fraud and demand for greater government regulation.

“The Fan Experience Index packed a bunch of surprises.  Yes, the magic of live events is real.  But it’s a delicate balance of many elements — talent, venues, technology and fans — all coming together for a memorable experience.  If any element is out of balance, the magic can be lost — replaced with disappointment and lost revenue,” said FanDragon Technologies’ founding CEO Robert Weiss. “The Index discovered that while audiences are dedicated to live events — venues, teams and artists must reimagine how they engage with fans. To encourage greater loyalty, they must protect fans from a host of issues negatively impacting their experience.”

Beyond the social importance of live events, the report revealed:

  • Americans shell out enormous sums of cash for their favorite experience. Three in four Americans (72 percent) are willing to spend between $51 to $500 on a single live event ticket, and nearly one in six (12 percent) spend up to $1,000. It’s clear that fans are willing to shell out big bucks to attend live events they feel emotionally connected to; however, they hate being price gouged on venue-related costs. Fans say their biggest live event spend frustrations include the cost of food and beverage at the venue (31 percent), hidden ticketing fees (24 percent) and cost of parking (24 percent). 
  • Fans are demanding government regulation to stop ticket fraud and scalping. Ticket fraud and more high-tech forms of scalping are becoming more common and worrisome to fans. Nearly one in six (14 percent) say they’ve purchased a fake ticket to a live event, and of those, over half (58 percent) say they missed the event because their ticket was fake. In fact, fans favor government regulation to address the issue (61 percent), saying they wish the government would do more to regulate event ticketing and protect them from scalping or ticketing fraud. The idea of falling victim to ticketing fraud is also influencing fans’ purchasing behaviors with two in three (68 percent) willing to pay extra to guarantee their ticket isn’t fake and three in five (59 percent) saying they prefer to purchase tickets directly from a primary ticket site to ensure they’re buying an authentic ticket. 
  • If the price is not right, fans will cheat the system to see their favorite talent. Even if fans can’t afford to attend a live event, it won’t stop them from “cheating the system” to avoid live event FOMO. Fans admit that if they can’t afford to buy a ticket, they’ve tried sneaking into the event (23 percent), re-using another ticket (21 percent), screenshotting another ticket (19 percent) or bribing event staff to let them in (18 percent). This type of behavior not only underscores fans’ devotion to live events, but also shows that venues are losing out on revenue due to lax ticketing and crowd control procedures. 
  • Mobile devices are supercharging event engagement and promiscuous behavior. Two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans currently have an app downloaded on their phone for purchasing and storing event tickets. Perhaps unsurprisingly, mobile-first Millennials are leading the mobile evolution of live events with three in four (78 percent) using mobile pay at an event and four in five (84 percent) using their phone to access their ticket (84 percent). Even those who don’t have a dedicated app still rely on their phone to get into events, as more than half (52 percent) say they prefer to use digital tickets, including 43 percent of Baby Boomers who are becoming more technologically-dependent event goers. While most fans are using mobile devices to make purchases and store tickets, fans are also supercharging their love life at live events with nearly half of all fans (46 percent) admitting they’ve used their device to find a hookup or make new connections. 
  • Fans will resort to stalking if they’re aren’t noticed. Today’s fans are engaging in extreme behavior to get attention from the artists and talent they idolize with nearly one in four admitting they’ve stalked the talent (23 percent) and thrown intimate apparel on a stage or field to get noticed (24 percent). With half (50 percent) admitting they’ve done something to try and get the attention of an artist or player during an event — including more innocent acts such as shouting at and professing their love for the talent (56 percent) and splurging on backstage passes for in-person meetings (47 percent) — it’s clear that today’s fans need personalized engagement options to satisfy the connections they crave. 
  • Live events are the gift that literally keep on giving (and being gifted). Take note for the holidays — the experience of a live event is something that most people want others to experience as well. In fact, nearly three in four (69 percent) say they’ve gifted someone with a live event ticket, and half (52 percent) say they plan to give someone a ticket to a live event this holiday season. 

“The ticketing ecosystem is clearly in need of fixing.  Fans are demanding a government solution to fix the problems, but I feel very strongly that technology is a huge part of the solution.  FanDragon is looking forward to drilling down even deeper on these critical issues in future Fan Experience Index studies,” said FanDragon Technologies’ founding CEO Robert Weiss.

White Stripes Seven Nation Army

Behind the Song: The White Stripes, “Seven Nation Army”