How many tickets did Broadway sell on Black Friday?

So how many did we sell?  Are you ready?  Drumroll please . . .

The answer is . . .

I have no idea.

Nor do I have any idea how many tickets we sold on Cyber Monday.

I do know how the rest of the business world did (down on Black Friday, up on Thanksgiving).  Heck, I even know the results of specific retailers thanks to articles like this one.

But Broadway’s sales results on one of the biggest sale dates of the year?

God The Ticketing Agencies only know.

Broadway publishes its grosses every week, both as an aggregate and on an individual show by show basis.  There have been many an argument to stop publishing the numbers, but it never gets very far.  One of the best arguments I’ve heard for publishing the results is because that’s what big business does.  Hollywood reports its grosses, so why not Broadway?  If we want people to take us seriously as an industry, then yes, we gotta open up our books.

That’s why I’m advocating that we also start revealing sales figures on important days throughout the year. Individual shows sometimes do it after opening (but only to brag).  But how about how we sold over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend?  Or how sales were during the Jewish Holidays in September?  Or after the Tony Awards?  We know ratings, but how much does the industry as a whole sell the next day?

We’re obsessed with grosses.  I publish them on my blog every Monday because so many people asked for them.

But we seem to forget about the daily/weekly sales figures . . . but since those numbers represent future earnings, they may be more important.

Now we just have to figure out how to make them public.


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  • Rachel says:

    I think this is a brilliant idea. Knowing the most you can about personal and surrounding sales is imperitave to reach the highest level possible. And it shouldn’t be just holidays that can be defined. Tomorrow, after the live broadcast of the Sound of Music, will there be a significant difference than previous years at this time? Will something like that have an immediate effect on Broadway ticket sales? Truthfully, I don’t know. But what if it did? The more we know in general, the more we can adjust to succeed.

  • Tom Hartman says:

    I agree with you. Out here in the hinterlands of Chicago one of the things that the non-profit theatres try to do is measure the economic impact of their existence to the community. Try to find out how ticket sales contribute to tourism and even how having a big for-profit production such as Wicked, which ran for almost three years, brought not only tourists but suburbanites into the city. A ticket to one of the downtown theatres brings in parking/public transportation revenue, restaurant and bar revenue on the night the ticket is used. This comes from tourists and suburbanites who would usually not be in the city on a weekend night/afternoon. When you look at tourists from, say a ten-state area, we seek to learn what impact does the big-name show — we’ve had Book of Mormon here for a year — drive their itinerary. Does “Mormon” make them more likely to visit Chicago this week and then shop, take in another cultural event, eat out, stay in a hotel,etc., or is “Mormon” an extra plus in deciding to come to Chicago.

    Sidenote: Chicago’s local theatres have had a crappy year at the box office and the consensus I hear is blaming “Mormon”‘s SIGNIFICANTLY increased ticket price. “Wicked” raised the bar and proved that people will pay more but “Mormon”, which I’ve yet to see due to ticket costs, took a major dare in a huge price jump. Consequently, locals feel that a night for “Mormon” for dinner, show, transportation, etc. has drained most suburbanite’s theatre budgets for the year.

    But the main use of measuring economic impact is dealing with the government. The former mayor Daley II, invested a significant amount of money and clout to help the downtown theatres get refurbished, both with outright money contributed by the city and the state and in tax breaks. Now, bringing a car or taking a cab into the theatre district on weekend nights can be as frustrating as trying to do it in Times Square. But, by having data showing the economic impact of live theatre, he was able to a.) help The Goodman Theatre build its new facility in the District, b.) bring in new non-chain restaurants; and c.) make Chicago a celebrity sighting spot the way it was in the ’40s and 50s.

    Having weekly and daily figures would assist a variety of other businesses in their planning (i.e., if Jewish attendance significantly increases at a certain time, the hotels can advertise special rates in the Jewish newspaper; nearby restaurants can try out the impact of contracting for Kosher meals, etc.) and help the city plan for services such as traffic police and foot patrols during exceptionally busy weeks. AND it helps when you want to build a new facility, renovate an old one in attaining local and state grants/loans and tax advantages.

  • Clair Sedore says:

    December 4/13 – Disney’s Aladdin – I think I am a kid at heart, as I always enjoy the Disney musicals, favourites being The Lion King which I have seen many, many times, and am always in awe of the animals, from the first time seeing it in NYC, and not expecting an adult show, but something for children, and I had gooseflesh when the animals appeared from behind a curtain at the rear of the theatre, and I got to see the brilliance of Julie Taymor’s creations. Each time Disney amazes me with scenic wonders, and Aladdin is certainly no exception. In spite of early reviews at the opening here in Toronto, the show is getting in shipshape, and the performance by James Monroe Iglehart is sure to get a Tony nomination, and like Billy Porter’s in Kinky Boots, it would be well deserved. Adam Jacobs is also great as Aladdin, and the rest of the cast is more than adequate. The flying carpet effect is brilliantly done, and the entire show is full of wonder. The time goes by very fast indeed. The score by Alan Menken, the late Howard Ashman and additional lyrics by Tim Rice are first rate as well. And Casey Nicholaw’s direction and choreography are indeed first rate. I think it will be another very long run at the New Amsterdam when it reaches Broadway.

  • It would also be great to have the books open on all the long running shows that have long since recouped to find out exactly why their ticket prices, no longer having to pay back initial investments, have to rise ever higher with each passing season.

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