President and Chief Financial Officer at Live Nation Entertainment
Thanks, Michael and good afternoon, everyone. Before getting into the detail on each business, a few points of context for the quarter, first, this is primarily a U.S. and UK driven quarter. These markets accounted for 95% of our fans in Q3 versus 75% in Q3 of 2019. And they represented 90% of fee-bearing GTV in Q3 versus 80% in Q3 of 2019. Second, our concerts activity primarily ramped up in August with 90% of our attendance for shows occurring in August and September. Let me now go into more detail on the divisions. First concerts, as Michael noted, pricing and onsite spending was up for both our amphitheaters and our major festivals in the U.S. and UK. With almost 1200 amphitheater shows played off, these shows give us the best data set for comparing to 2019. So, give you more detail on trends for these shows, and in general, the same trends also hold for our festivals.
On pricing, average ticket pricing at our amphitheaters was up 17% to $63. There are two primary drivers to this. First, ticket pricing, including more platinum and VIP tickets for shows this year, increased average ticket pricing by $7. Secondly, our concert week promotion and other promotions were smaller-scale this year, which had an impact of $2 per ticket. Then for onsite spending, average fan spending was up 25% to $36. This growth came from a combination of more orders per fan, more items per order, and higher average spend per order. Many of our fans shifted to buying higher-priced products, which was part of our higher spend per order. And the shift to cashless also helped as card transactions have historically been larger than cash transactions, and this has held up as we shifted to 100% cashless. Finally, operating costs, including labor costs were up. These higher labor costs are driven by several factors, fewer shows per building, our accelerated ramp up to open the buildings this summer, new health and safety protocols and a generally tightened labor market.
At the same time as noted with increased average ticket price and higher onsite spending, we increased the contribution margin per fan and did so to such a level that our profitability per fan, net of operating expenses rose double digits. Turning now to Ticketmaster, as Michael said, Ticketmaster had a record AOI of a $172 million for the quarter, driven by its fourth highest fee-bearing GTV quarter excluding refunds, and lower cost structure from its reorganization. Along with lower ramp-up labor costs as we accelerated activity faster than the return of staff. Primary ticketing was driven substantially by concerts, which accounted for over 70% of fee-bearing GTV, while sports was the second largest category, and together they represented approximately 90% of all fee-bearing GTV. Geographically, North America accounted for 80% of fee-bearing GTV as activity remained limited internationally outside the UK. In secondary ticketing, we similarly saw concerts and sports account for over 90% of fee-bearing GTV, though in this case, sports were the primary driver with the launch of new football and basketball seasons.
Another contributor to our growth in ticketing is the continued signing of new clients with over 14 million net new fee-bearing tickets added this year through the third quarter. These new client additions have been particularly strong internationally, accounting for 2/3 of our new client tickets. Finally, sponsorship AOI surpassed a $100 million in the quarter for the first time in two years as it again had available ad units at scale, both on-site and online. Like our other businesses, it was largely U.S. and UK driven together accounting for approximately 90% of total activity. And as activity resumed, we were also able to engage new sponsors, adding eight new strategic sponsors in the quarter. As we look to Q4, we see a continuation of the same trends we had in Q3. With concerts, we expect North America and the UK to continue ramping toward historical activity levels. While the rest of Europe and other international markets have limited activity given the lead time to plan concerts. With ticketing we expect a broader recovery as most European markets put stadium and arena tours on sale in Q4, enabling GTV levels that could approach Q4 2019 levels, despite 65 million fee-bearing tickets already being sold for 2022 events.
And while Q4 is typically a seasonally slower period for sponsorship, it too should benefit from concerts and ticketing sales ramping up. Let us now turn to our cash and cost management. We have free cash at $1.7 billion at the end of the quarter, which includes $450 million earmarked for the OCESA acquisition. This was our first quarter since 2019 where our cash contribution margin was higher than our cash burn, contributing a net $166 million in free cash. We also added $850 million in cash in the quarter through our $400 million drawdown of our Term A loan and $450 million equity raise for ASESA, mentioned previously. We then had free cash reduced by $370 million, largely resulting from long-term deferred revenue shifting into short-term for show's next summer as we previously indicated would be happening. This improved cash position was also helped by our ongoing cost and cash management program as this year, we expect to reduce costs by $900 million and cash spend by $1.5 billion relative to pre -pandemic plans and on the cash, side excluding ASESA. As we prepare for 2022 plans, we remain confident that we have structurally reduced our operating costs by $200 million relative to our pre -pandemic 2020 plans.
A few other balance sheet items. Our deferred revenue at the end of the quarter was $1.9 billion. This is compared to $950 million at the end of Q3 of 2019, which gives us the best like for like view of the demand pipeline already in place. And then a reminder on our debt, that we continue with our liquidity covenants until we report Q4 this year, at which point we switch to a more traditional leverage test. Given our current liquidity and expected Q4 and 2022 activity levels, we do not anticipate any covenant issues through next year, and expect to continue investing in growth.
With that, let me open the call for questions, Operator.