Eventbrite Q4 2023 Earnings Recap

We say this sincerely – we wish Eventbrite was doing better. They are the only public company in the event ticket/registration space and are the segment leader. If they were growing it would show that events are back and bring an overall optimism that is needed in the event market.

Instead, they had a very bad Q4 (and past 4-5 years), which reflects poorly on the event segment.

Eventbrite is still at only 83% of their paid ticket volume from 2019 before the pandemic and are still struggling to recover (RunSignup is at 169% of 2019 Q4).

We have shared our thoughts along the way, and perhaps we are wrong and Eventbrite will turn it around. But this quarter reinforces several of the themes we have struck including Eventbrite is not a Marketplace, they are taking too much of a “Wall Street” view of increasing “Take Rate”, and a disastrous decision to start charging subscription fees to any event (even free) that are over 25 tickets. This last decision is in direct conflict with their stated strategy of creating a marketplace that attracts consumers – in fact the huge increase in prices is driving events away. That decision reduces the number of events on their platform, which reduces their traffic and their claim of being the marketplace for events.

Reducing Costs

They are trying to “reduce operational overhead” (all Julia’s words below):

Financial Highlights from Lanny (all Lanny’s words below):

  • “We’ve grown non-ticketing revenue to 10% of our revenue.. by extracting value” (8:20)
  • “Subscription and event organizer fees brought $6.6 Million in Q4 (out of $86M)”
  • “Eventbrite Ads Revenue was $2.3M in Q4, up 28% as the number of advertisers and spend per advertiser grew to new highs”
  • “Updated Fees in early 2023 and increased revenue per ticket by 10% in 2023”
  • “Our Gross Margin reached new highs”
  • “Near term ticket volume was down 4% in Q4 from the previous year”
  • “Our near term priority is to elevate the visibility of top events” (13:30)

They are clearly focused on their “Take Rate”:

The analysts kind of roasted them with questions about their price increases lowering the ticket volume from 2022. (starting at 18:30). We found the first answer from Lanny quite tone deaf with regards to customers:

“There was the long term benefit of extracting value from the investments we’ve made in the performance of the product, in the strength of the brand, the trust and safety of our marketplace, and the demand generation that we bring to events… The vast majority of customers EMBRACE the subscription fees.”

A question from one of the analysts (22:45): “Reconcile growth in events up 2%, growth in paid creators up 3% and paid tickets was down 4%. Does that imply you saw a bigger churn at the larger creator level?”

Profitability of Competitors

“Some of the mid market sales driven companies continue to slow down due to the unprofitable deals they are closing are wearing their balance sheets.” – To be clear RunSignup is profitable because of our efficiency and the low amount we need to spend on sales and marketing because most customers come from referrals. We have no debt and carry a 2.5X Current Ratio.


The 10K for 2023 is located here.

Reading the 10k, we see they have spent $11 Million of the $74 Million yearly Sales and Marketing expense on an “increase in marketing spend associated with our consumer marketing campaigns, search engine marketing, and advertising.” In other words ads to drive traffic to their site.

26% of Net Revenue from outside the United States, up from 25% in 2022.

Market Observations on Eventbrite

We have talked with a number of Eventbrite customers who are very disappointed and surprised at Eventbrite. Some are protected with 3 year contracts they signed earlier, which Eventbrite seemed to make a push on to protect from excessive churn when they implemented these new price increases.

While we started this post saying we sincerely wish Eventbrite was doing better, as a competitor in this space, their bad moves have brought more business to us sooner. These moves remind us of bad moves that large vendors in the race registration space made – increasing their “take rate”, closing productive offices for low cost alternatives that wound up disconnecting their companies from their customers and heritage, and not building a very good product.

RunSignup is in the event technology business for the long run. We think one of our major advantages is our long term focus on just building good technology for customers, and treating our customers fairly. You can read this blog and this blog for thoughts on our long term thinking. This email to our team from our founder exemplifies our thinking, which is about as opposite from Eventbrite as possible.

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