A survey: what do people do when they LOSE the lottery?

My office is right next to Book of Mormon, so every day and twice on Saturdays, I see a 100+ folks crossing their fingers hoping that they’ll win the lottery and get to see the show that night.

30 or so people get lucky.

My question . . . what happens to the others?  These people are “in the mood” to see a show.  They’ve set aside the time to see a show.  They are in the location where lots and lots of shows happen.

Surely, they see another show, right?

Well as my mom always said, “Surely” is nothing but the name of our crazy neighbor with the 10 cats.

So, we decided to find out.

Last weekend, my staff and I hit the streets and asked lottery losers at Mormon, Wicked, and a few other shows in town just what they planned to do after their hopes and dreams were crushed by fate.

First of all, we wanted to know where they were from.  Do tourists know about the lottery?  Is this a NY secret?  Here are the numbers:

  • 46% of Lottery Players were from the tristate
  • 54% were from outside the tristate

It’s not the secret many of us thought it was.

When they lost the lottery, here’s what our responders said they’d do instead:

  • 31% see another show
  • 24% go home
  • 22% do something else (movies, shopping, lunch, etc)
  • 16% don’t know
  • 7% try to get tickets to that show (cancellation line, SRO, box office)
So what does that tell us?
Good news and bad news.
The good news is that 47% of the losers (“see another show” plus “don’t know”) could be ripe to buy tickets to something else (maybe your show).
Your challenge is making sure they find their way to your show.

The bad news is that 53% are not inclined to go to another show if they lose, even though they have the time, some cash, and are steps away from TKTS, other lotteries, theaters, etc.

And that’s the challenge for all of us.


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  • Norberto Bogard says:

    Try to create an attractive way to bring them to see OUR show. (Clever, imaginative and not devaluating it). Of course, those people are in the mood to get a good and quick alternative.

  • Amyleigh1982 says:

    Seem like a good place to send the flyer-carriers and/or a TKTS rep. “There’s no such thing as a loser, folks! Step right up and we’ll find you your next favorite show!” If you go fishing, you probably won’t catch all the fish in the lake but you might just bring in a haul now and then.

  • NIT says:

    Some shows offer up “lotto loser” rear orch seats for around $50 a pop. It’s more than the lotto seats but a little cheaper than TKTS

  • Jake says:

    There used to be a way to do Spelling Bee lotto, lose, do Avenue Q lotto, lose THEN go to Drowsy Chaperone lottery. I loved being able to ensure I would see something by the multiple options. Shows with smaller lotteries than Book of Mormon should push their lotteries back to allow time for the BoM losers to catch their show!

  • Morgan says:

    It is definitely smart for a theatre to do a lotto at a different time than other shows, because when I lotto I plan it so I can lotto for as many shows as possible or possibly rush something if I lose. As someone that lives in the city though, I don’t like to pay more than $30 for a broadway show because I don’t have to and that way I get to see more shows (or in some cases the same show multiple times). But if there are lotto loser tickets (rush tickets essentially) available for $36 or $37 I usually do that because you’re right, when I lotto I’m in the mood to see a show and only don’t if there isn’t an affordable option available to me. But, I also don’t do lotto loser tickets for mezz seats. Doesn’t seem like a good deal and I would therefore rather come back to lotto a different day.
    (But it should also be mentioned that Book of Mormon is a different beast all together. Because the lotto is so hard to win I always lotto if I’m around and never see a show when I lose because I am of the mind that I will see it eventually and don’t always lotto when I’m in the mood for a show.)

  • Rachel says:

    Spelling Bee was brilliant to have their lotto right after Wicked’s (next door). I have gone from one lotto to another, but when you’re running through Times Square at peak hours, it’s definitely a time crunch when you have 15 minutes to get 10 blocks. (While there’s generally a 30 minute difference, it can take 15 minutes for names to be pulled.)
    While some shows have “lotto loser”, Chicago, which is across the street from Book of Mormon, would be smart to have a rush or, essentially, (without using these words, as it’s probably illegal) a BoM lotto loser deal at Chicago.

  • NSchmebs says:

    I agree with the comments. When Shrek was running they had a man with a sign literally directing people to the their lotto after they lost the Wicked one. Very smart, as I would always try to lotto something else or retreat to theaters with student rush if I lost. Though, I didn’t have any trouble a couple months ago being the first name called my first time lotto-ing Book of Mormon. Lucky day, indeed.

  • Stephen Sweeney says:

    When ever I loose the Lottery at the show I’m at I am always in the mood to see another show but my biggest problem is most of the lotteries are at the same time. If producers would stagger the Lottery times I would hop from show to show until I got one. I wish more shows would stagger their times.

  • Lucillec says:

    I absolutely agree with that. The other week, I was trying to score rush tickets for “Anything Goes”, they didn’t have it. So I ended up buying rush for “Mary Poppins” nearby. It was such an impulse purchase, I sort of regretted buying it, but anyway, the show turned out to be great. But definitely, other shows should tap into this “loser” group of audience.

  • janiska says:

    Some marketing/techie genius should come up with a cell phone app. Not sure how it would work, but maybe someone could be at lotteries to take money and book tickets via cell app maybe even at a premium for eliminating the rush to another lottery or show.
    Hey, it’s an idea….

  • Noah says:

    Finally something I can relate to! I am from NJ and my friends and I frequently catch a train to NYC. We usually try a lotto first, but if we loose we SPRINT to a show with a student rush policy, which, by the way, is the greatest thing ever invented. (If you’re a student, that is…)

  • The new Godspell blog is so interesting … play by play (so the say!) to watch your ideas developing and evolving for a new show, I find this fascinating.

  • Beth says:

    Add me to the chorus of “stagger your lotto times!” Currently, on a week day, Book of Mormon draws at 5, Wicked at 6 and Priscilla at 6. (On Friday and Sat, BOM draws at the same time as Wicked.) In a brilliant move, Hair, which seems to be struggling to fill the very large St. James, draws winners an hour before curtain, and offers $37 tickets for lotto losers. Being that they are the latest lottery to draw, it seems more likely that would sell more rush tickets. Hair also actively promotes that there will be $37 tickets available — wonder if this would have helped similar shows that were struggling at times, especially shows that appeal to a younger/student/budget conscious audience (I’m looking at you, American Idiot.)
    Yes, TKTS is a couple blocks away, but there are possibly lines, and I wanted to spend about $30 on a show. I often have $30 in cash on me for lotto.
    I’m a big fan of simply stopping in to box offices and saying “do you offer rush tickets?” I’ve seen shows I wouldn’t normally see this way (including Arcadia, God of Carnage, and Promises, Promises.) It seems that for some shows, rush tickets are a particular location, and once they’re gone, they’re gone, regardless of whether there are empty seats left in the theatre. I always wondered why, an hour or so before curtain, more tickets aren’t sold to people looking for rush tickets (I’ve had this happen at a couple shows, and am pretty certain that, given their reported grosses, there are tix available.) I assume that, given the fixed cost of putting on a show, you’d rather have me pay $30 than have an empty seat. (And really, feel free to put me way in the back or obstructed view on the side. For the right price, I’ll deal with it or ask one of your kind ushers if I can move if I see empty seats.)

  • Mad Cow says:

    Darn Ken, I thought at the end of your blog for today you would have a giveaway for 2 tickets to the Book of Mormon! Dang it! 😉

  • Broadwayjayb@aol.com says:

    A Couple Of Ideas
    1. Is it possible to get advertising for Godspell printed on the back of the lottery sign in sheet papers? If you provide them with paper they save money right?
    2 . Is it possible to get advertising on the back hard tickets/ home print out tickets or local stores? Have it printed on their receipts like as the background on receipts for Chipolte?
    3. Ask Stephen Schwartz To write a song about ” Losing Is Winning” in reference to losing tix at one show is ” Winnnning” ( Charlie Sheen reference) to Godspell
    4. A marketing scheme with something in reference to Musicals with GOD! Ex: GOD is Everywhere! ” Can’t See Sister Act?, Can’t See The Book Of Mormon? Well Come See The Original GOD! GODSPELL!”
    Okkkkkk that’s enough for now any more and I’ll have to charge ya,lol ! J

  • Broadwayjayb@aol.com says:

    ” GOD’s “Wicked”ly Fun Musical “GODSPELL” ! J

  • donlaureljordan@aol.com says:

    Hey Ken, whyy don’t you have someone at the lottery each day with discounted or 241 GODSPELL tickets? I bet you might pick up a lot of sales that way. They would have to return to see GODSPELL, but would appreciate the offer.

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