Spitzer screwed you too.

Long before he was paying $5k a pop for a night of illegal entertainment, Client #9 decided to wage war on those charging $1.50 a pop on top of a ticket to a night of legal entertainment.

Yep, our un-clothed crusader had a thing for facility fees.

In 2003, Elliot wrote a missive to several entertainment venues in the city, including Radio City, Madison Square Garden, and yes, Broadway Theaters, warning them that charging $1 or $1.50 or $4.50 in addition to the ticket price was illegal.

For a moment, Producers and General Managers thought the facility fee (aka the additional profit center fee) might vanish, because no one was stronger than The Spitz.

Haha.  Nope.

Here’s what happened.

Before Spitz, the consumers were given information like this:

$99 ticket + $1.50 facility fee = $100.50 total cost.

Spitz said this was not truthful advertising.  So after he stirred up the muck, Producers were forced to give the information to the consumer like this:

$100.50 ticket

Can you see how we got Spitzed?

We all know our consumers constantly complain about our high prices.  At least the first scenario allowed us to explain that it wasn’t the Producers charging this extra buck fifty.

An even bigger problem is that for those of us who use psychological pricing.  If we want a price under $100, then we have to further reduce by the facility fee.  In the above scenario, a $99 ticket would only net us $97.50.

Somehow, while Spitzer was taking a swipe at the theater and facility owners, the Producers got smacked instead.

Oh, and PS.  The Altar Boyz are taking back their endorsement.

  • Jay says:

    “In the above scenario, a $99 ticket would only net us $97.50”
    How can anyone be expected to get by on $97.50/ticket? This truly is a sad, sad story.

  • Jere says:

    But the thing about the consumers who are complaining about the high cost of theatre tickets is that they don’t care how that $100.50 is broken out or who gets what. They are simply responding to the entire amount.
    If you want to break out that $1.50, you might as well also break out how much of the ticket price goes for the costumes, the set, the cast, the crew, the writer, etc. Audiences probably don’t care about that either, but what’s the difference really?

  • Michael L says:

    I often agree with Ken’s P.O.V., but not this time around. This is a victory for the consumer — we get to see the actual ticket cost up-front, not when the credit card billing page comes up.

  • Hey Michael, that’s not what Spitzer did, actually. The price never changed, the fees (and most importantly who was getting them) were just hidden within the ticket price. So it looked like the producer was charging more. When in fact, it wasn’t the case.

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