Producers and Brokers sitting in a tree. Doing B-U-S-I-N-E-S-S.

Back in 2009 (gulp!), I wrote this blog about how Broadway’s year end gross box office figures were wrong.  The reported numbers were just under a billion dollars.

But, I argued, the actual take was well beyond that, if you added in the premium that ticket brokers were charging.  Of course, we don’t know what that actual amount is, but my point was that Broadway is an even bigger business than our yearly box office indicates.

My conclusion in that blog was that Producers and Brokers, notoriously sworn enemies since the beginning of Broadway itself, should find some common ground.  Because sometimes two parties that seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, are actually touching on the other side.

Last week, one of the largest retail brokers, StubHub, and one of Broadway’s biggest hits, The Book of Mormon, announced the first ever partnership between Producer and Broker.  As described in this Forbes article, Premium Tickets and exclusive packages for BOM will now be available directly through StubHub, allowing the Producers (and the Artists) to benefit from the StubHub customer who is willing to pay whatever it takes to get a ticket to the show when he/she wants.  And it allows StubHub to get direct access to seats from the box office themselves, without having to wait for someone else to dig them up.

It looks to be like a win-win. Customer is happy.  Producer is happy.

Why did it take so long to get here?

Who cares.  Let’s not worry about the past.  Let’s just all keep working on additional ways to use partners (that’s right I said partners, not brokers) to sell our tickets so we can all reap the biggest benefits.

 

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Comments
  • Damien says:

    I was just talking about this today. Here in London it has gone to the other extreme. There are so many secondry ticket agencies that it has established a discount culture. People expect to not have to pay full price and will leave a theatre box office to go and buy from a ticket agent offering a lower price as the theatre box office is bound by the producers rules.

  • Wrong-o!

    “Partnerships” between producers and brokers have existed on the sly for …ever! Producers diverting tickets to brokers was a time honored tradition in days gone by.

    In the modern age it continues. The StubHub arrangement is only the latest incarnation of this. Broadway.com is the 800 pound gorilla of an example.

    Producers have found a few other ways to tap into “broker partnerships”. Many producers have their own group sales arms, and it’s no coincidence that some tickets procured in this manner often find their way to brokers, or to StubHub listings. Even some producer owned websites have links to known broker websites.

    The funny thing about these arrangements is how very anti-consumer it all is. When you take high priced premium tickets and slap on top of them the additional broker fees, you are adding a new level of insult to the entire enterprise. How long can you treat your customers in such a shabby way and still hope that some other more reasonably priced diversion won’t deplete your audience?

    If Broadway, as an industry, has accepted that it has reached the most people that it can, with no hope of broadening the audience, and it’s only hope of continuing profitability is ever higher prices, and splitting fees with brokers, then we must accept that Broadway has become merely a sunset industry, and sadly watch it wind down over the coming years.

  • Considering both Fathom Events broadcasting Broadway shows via movie theaters and Video on Demand, brokers and producers have to get smart……and partner.

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