Why golf’s latest marketing push is even better for the Broadway

If you’re a golfer, the Golf Channel becomes your favorite television show.  That’s right.  The whole dang network.  It’s like someone asking, “What’s your favorite show?” and instead of answering, “American Idol,” or “Dance Moms,” you answer, “NBC.”

If you watch the Golf Channel enough, you’ll realize something.  At least 60% of the programming is about professional golf.  And the remaining 40%?

It’s about teaching you to play better golf.

And one of the biggest tag lines you’ll hear from one of the Golf Channel’s official apps?

“Go.  Play.”

The Golf Channel, and the Golf Industry (which has taken a big hit in “attendance” over the past few years – sound familiar?) has realized that there is one key to the future of the sport.  Participation.

During the Super Bowl, did you hear announcers encouraging you to get out and play a game of touch football with your friends?  Or did you get instruction on how to throw a perfect spiral?  Do you get free throw instruction while watching a Knicks game?  (Actually, the Knicks are the ones that should get the instruction!)  or suggestions on how to get a good pick up game going?

But golf’s a different story.

And so is the theater.

It is proven that participation in the arts (especially at a young age) leads to consumption of the arts.  So, the best audience development programs we can build today shouldn’t just be focused on bringing kids to the theater.  It should be focused on getting kids to . . . well . . . go . . . “play.”

If I were holding Broadway’s marketing purse strings, I’d put a bunch of the budget behind a program to get people to join their local community theaters.  I’d hold more and more instructional programs for kids and adults alike, teaching them how to be better actors, better singers, better dancers (all those things create happier audiences, by the by, and happier audiences want to see more theater).

Our future audiences are on elementary school stages, and high school stages and community theater stages all over the country.

Put more people up there, and we’ll have more people in our audiences twenty years from now.

 

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Comments
  • Josh Ruben says:

    Very nice observation. Sadly, many of my fellow high school teachers run “cut” programs in which only a few students get to actually “play.” We should encourage (or demand!) that more school programs allow every kid to be in the show. Sports can’t do this (rules!), but we are creative people, and there is always a way. By putting more students in more shows, we will make great strides towards building our future audiences.

  • Well you just stole my soapbox! I helped found and stay involved in a Children’s Musical Theatre program in Northeast Oklahoma.
    After 15 years of involving kids and their families (production support) in full stage musicals, I can attest that direct involvement in theatrical productions introduces families to the Arts and results in them seeking out opportunities to see more theatre. We have had groups go to New York to see Broadway shows and we have had groups going to local and regional shows. Many of these families had no affinity for music theatre until their kids got involved in our summer program. So if you’re looking for a program to invest some seed money in for future ticket buyers…we have a proven program trying to build funds for a facility to support year round programming! Give us a call or visit our website…we’ll come to you with lots of info!

  • George Rady says:

    I started school in Europe – a five years – my whole class was on the stage of the Vienna Staats Opera… it stayed with me all my Life! And, even though I took a 30 years hiatus where I only attended the Theatre, Opera, Ballet… once the oportunity to get back to taking part in the Arts presented itself… it was like coming Home.

    That’s Europe is still a bit ahead of US – they never lost connection with their History and respective Cultures – while we… not so much.

    I think one of the mistakes in our Youth programs is that they do not understand the concept of kids getting to play the “Big Time!”

    Yes, it fine to work all summer on program and give a final performance… mostly for parents.

    But there is nothing to replace the magic of allowing kids to take their hard work… into a Major Opera House of Theatre and – at once – inspire them with the AWE of performing in a Special Place and – at the same time – demystify the “Theatre” so it becomes something that they experience in childhood.

    I have a theory that many people are as intimidated by the thought of going to theatre as those of us – who were brought up as “drinkers” still find a Bar intimidating…

    (And it’s far more worthwhile to become intoxicated by Live Human Performances IMHO!)

    g

  • Jaz Dorsey says:

    It always bothers me to hear people in the theatre refer to “community theatre” with disdain. I got my start in community theatre and I susupect that holds true for many others. Because of my early experinece in community theate, my first paying job in life was as an actor at age 13.

  • Skip Lehman says:

    Ken,
    Check out the Merry Go Round Playhouse aka The Finger-lakes Musical Theater Festival in Auburn NY. They have a huge youth theater program, and expose thousands of elementary school kids to Musical Theater at THEIR schools.
    Check it out at :http://fingerlakesmtf.com/youth-theatre/about-youth-theatre/

  • George says:

    Ideally – yes – Live Theatre should be “Community” based… and that should be the kids first entre into the world of Live Performances… where they can experience, learn and take part before their first audiences…

    Unfortunately – here again – these organizations (more often than not) become close insular clicks run by one or two (but usually only one) “grey back” who dictates soon drive the organization into the ground by shutting out… the community. They pick favorites, promote their own, do not welcome outsiders… succumb to all the flaws of organizational politics..

    And this is compounded when they receive Govt $$$ disconnecting them from the need to be competitive and aware of who – ultimately – will have to pay the bills.

    So the “disdain” is not for Community Theatre… but for what Community Theatre usually devolves to… and that is NOT a healthy environment in which to bring in kids.

    This devolution takes – what could be a great experience – and turns it into an experience where kids see adults… acting childish, greedy and petty… and THAT then becomes their impression of “theatre people” and we have now LOST a potential Life Time Member.

    So the double-edged sword – that is Community Theatre – relies (as in all aspects of Life) on the Integrity and Virtue of the people who running the show.

    g

  • When I was in ninth grade at junior high, there was a teacher named Mr. Oblas. I never had him for classes because he mostly taught Special Ed, but every once in a while he’d suddenly have to substitute if a teacher had to take off in the middle of the day. And it just so happened that our French teacher had to leave for an emergency, so Oblas came in. Now, since ninth graders were upperclassmen, if word went out that there’d be a sub, most of the class just skipped it and didn’t show up. I never did, but I was a goody-goody gay nerd, as we all know, and I wanted to keep being named on the Honor Roll and Arista, plus I loved French. The only other kid who showed was a guy named Sadik who had to pass French or he wouldn’t graduate that June. So Oblas said, “OK, good, just two of you. Let me get to know you better. Sadik, what kinds of things do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Sadik replied, “I like going to the Mets games at Shea. My parents say I’m old enough now to go by myself, so I save up my allowance all month and get a ticket if there’s a Saturday afternoon game.” Oblas said, “That’s great. I love the Mets. Andrew, is that the kind of thing you do also?” I said, “Well, sort of, but not for ball games. I like Broadway, so I save up my allowance all month and go to the TKTS booth in Manhattan on a Saturday morning and get a half-price ticket for a matinee.” And Sadik put his head in his hands and said, “Oh, God. Don’t tell him this. Why are you telling him this?” Oblas looked at him at him and said, “Why shouldn’t he be telling me this?” Sadik said, “Because it’s so…so…so…” Oblas said, “I think I know what word you’re about to use, and you’re wrong. What it is is great business sense on the part of a young man with a passion. He saves up, gets a half-price ticket and has a great time. Do you think for one minute that if you could save up your allowance all month and then go to a special ticket booth to get a half-price ticket to sit two rows behind home plate at Shea that you wouldn’t jump at it?” Now Sadik got excited. “Is there one? Is there one?” Oblas said, “No, there isn’t one. Maybe you should think about going to a Broadway show instead. My wife and I go all the time with our kids and we love it just as much as a Mets game. Now open your books to page seventy-seven.” It was the first time I ever remember feeling truly validated during that period in my life. Wherever you are today, thank you, Mr. Oblas.

  • Vicky says:

    What a wonderful analyses you have done through your observation. 100% it happens in our surroundings, one should answer “NBC” for their favorite programs instead of “American idols” etc. Strongly agree!
    I am playing golf from last 6 years with my best friend and i have learned just one thing that GOLF IS ALL ABOUT CONSISTENCY AND PASSION if you have these attributes nobody can stop you for winning the game.
    And most importantly now we have an era where the tutors, trainer are at your home in form of online stuff including videos, blogs, and websites. We are following http://mybestgolfbuddy.com/ as our coach and believe me we are very happy with this instructor who did not charge any fee. 🙂

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