AEG, one of the North America's largest concert promoters, has aligned with its competitor Live Nation in instructing its touring shows to prepare to return home in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a joint statement, obtained by Rolling Stone, executives from Live Nation, AEG, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), William Morris Endeavor (WME), Paradigm and United Talent Agency (UTA) said they are working together to develop best practices to safeguard artists, fans and staff in the concert industry.
"The world's leading forces in live entertainment have come together to form a global task force to drive strategic support and unified direction ensuring precautionary efforts and ongoing protocol are in the best interest of artists, fans, staff, and the global community," the coalition said in a joint statement. "At this time, we collectively recommend large scale events through the end of March be postponed.
"We continue to support that small-scale events follow guidance set by their local government officials. We feel fortunate to have the flexibility to reschedule concerts, festivals, and live events as needed, and look forward to connecting fans with all their favorite artists and live entertainment soon."
According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, Live Nation generated $1.1 billion in tickets sold for shows featuring the company's talent that played between November 2018 and May 2019. During the same time period, AEG reported $343 million in ticket sales, a figure that did not include the $144 million generated from AEG's corporate partner, Messina Touring Group.
The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the spread of the new coronavirus, which began in China in late December, a pandemic on Wednesday (March 11). More than 130,000 cases have been reported worldwide — including more than 1,500 in the U.S.
According to the Centers For Disease Control And Protection (CDC), coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person — between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet), and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
The agency is recommending that people avoid "close contact" with anyone showing flu-like symptoms.