The share prices of various publicly listed live entertainment companies surged yesterday following the announcement that Pfizer and BioNTech are now seeking emergency approval for a COVID-19 vaccine which, researchers say, is 90% effective in preventing people from contracting the coronavirus. The pharmaceutical companies also say that they have tested their vaccine with 43,500 people and no serious safety concerns have been raised.
The race has been on all year to develop a safe vaccine for COVID-19, of course, with various groups working on a solution. There remain challenges in getting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine approved, manufactured, distributed and administered, however many see the news as a “breakthrough moment” in the fight against the coronavirus. Experts also say that the announcement raises the prospect of the other vaccines in development being successful.
Unsurprisingly, the news that the world was one step closer to beating COVID-19 had a positive impact across the stock markets. However, it was companies that have been hardest hit by the pandemic that generally saw the biggest spike in share prices.
That includes the live entertainment business, which in many cases has been in pretty much full-on shutdown since March. Last week, live music giant Live Nation confirmed its quarter three revenues were down 95% year-on-year, quarter two having slumped 98%.
The accompanying note to investors spoke of consumers being eager to return to shows, and hopes that tours and concerts could return at scale in 2021. Still, Live Nation conceded that there remained many uncertainties regarding how long COVID-19 – and the accompanying lockdown, social distancing and travel restriction measures – would continue to negatively impact on its industry.
The fact that a vaccine could be in circulation before the end of year obviously boosts optimism, even if certain COVID measures are still likely to be in place for at least several more months.
Within 30 minutes of the vaccine announcement Live Nation – and rival live music businesses like Madison Square Garden Entertainment and CTS Eventim – had all see their share prices surge by more than 20%. And while those initial spikes weren’t maintained – all three subsequently dropping a little – their share prices nevertheless ended the day significantly higher than they were on Friday.
In all three cases, that is still somewhat below their share prices before everyone realised the reality of COVID back in March, but nevertheless, everyone in live music will be hoping that yesterday’s announcement means we are talking about a 2021 revival of the sector, not a 2022 revival.