Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Broadway has another Billion Dollar Year

Actually, only a couple of theatres are on Broadway itself.

The Broadway League released end-of-season statistics for the 2009 – 2010 season, which began May 25, 2009 and ended May 23, 2010. For the 2009 – 2010 season, Broadway shows yielded $1.02 billion in grosses, and total attendances reached 11.89 million.

Grosses are up 1.5% from last season's absolute numbers (which do not include Young Frankenstein*). Attendance is down 3.0% from the 2008 – 2009 season, also using absolute numbers.

Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League, said, “Using the numbers we know, grosses were up 1.5% over last season. However, if we factor in estimated figures for Young Frankenstein which ran 32 weeks in 2008 – 2009, it could be down slightly this season – perhaps as much as 1.0% in grosses. In any case, it seems that even in this current economic climate, the numbers are strong thanks to the vibrancy of this season's offerings.“

The League recently studied the demographics of theatre-goers and found that, for Broadway, international visitors accounted for one in five admissions. Tourists in general accounted for a whopping 63% of Broadway admissions, though that could be a misleading statistic since under their parameters I would be considered a tourist, not the Broadway regular I consider myself.

The report also shows that the use of the Internet for the purchase of tickets has grown by 471% since the 1999-2000 season (from 7% to 40%). Online purchase was the most popular method of ticket buying for a fifth year in row.

During the 2009-2010 season, 39 shows opened (11 new musicals, 14 new plays, 6 musical revivals, and 8 play revivals).

The total for 2009-10 was $1.02 billion vs. $1.00 billion in 2008-9.

The more important figure was the gross attendance and that was 11.89 million in the last year, vs. 12.25 million the year before, representing a decline.

Broadway audience is aging

The average age of the Broadway theatregoer was 42.2 years old, slightly older than last season, while those aged from 25-34accounted for 16% of all tickets sold, higher than it has been since the 1999-2000 season. But younger audiences generally seem to prefer the more edgy (and cheaper) offerings of off-Broadway and off-off Broadway houses.
Broadway theatregoers were a very well educated and affluent group. In addition to an annual reported income of $195,700, 73% of theatregoers over the age of 25 had completed college and 36% had earned a graduate degree. 

“Broadway is a national pastime! As there is more of a choice for the theatregoer than ever before, it is exciting to report that we are seeing a wider audience for Broadway. Our shows, and our audience, are more diverse than ever,” continued Charlotte St. Martin. “With our goal to make Broadway a stronger international brand, we do believe that the increased attendance from foreign visitors to New York City reflects that these efforts are working. A stronger international brand will not only be an asset for Broadway’s business, but for the New York City economy as well.”

*Estimates for Young Frankenstein, which played 32 weeks during the 2008-09 season are not included here (previews began 10/11/07, closed 1/4/09 ) The producers refused to cooperate with the Broadway League and insisted on keeping their numbers to themselves.

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