End of Q4 and FINAL results for Broadway’s 2014-15 season.

Boom!

That sound you just heard was the shattering of records up and down Broadway!

This Sunday marked the end of the 52nd week and thus the end of the 2014-15 Broadway season.  So, it’s time to check in and see just how many bucks were made and how many butts were in seats!

And yeah, it was a good one.

Here we go . . .

GROSSES

  • Final gross for the season was $1,365,232,182.
  • Last season we grossed $1,268,881,236.
  • That’s a 7.6% increase from last season.

ATTENDANCE

  • 13,104,078 people saw Broadway shows in the 2014-15 season.
  • 12,214,823 people saw Broadway shows last season.
  • That’s a 7.3% increase from last season.

PLAYING WEEKS

  • There were 1,626 playing weeks this season.
  • There were 1,496 playing weeks last season.
  • That’s an increase of 8.7% from last season.

So yeah, it was a very good year.

In fact, it was, like, our best year ever.

It was the highest grossing Broadway season ever.  It was the best attended Broadway season ever.  And we had our highest number of playing weeks ever.

Broadway is boomin’ y’all.  Big time.

In fact, the Broadway League’s website reported this fun comparison:

Broadway attendance in the 2014 – 2015 season topped those of the ten professional New York and New Jersey sports teams combined.

You’d think maybe the city government would help build us a stadium.  Or at least give us some tax breaks, right?

So, where do we go from here?

Hopefully, up.  But not only in grosses and attendance.  All of the above is good news.  No, it’s great news (except, of course, if you’re looking to get your hands on a Broadway theater, because all those playing weeks mean theaters are booked).  But it’s not the only news.

I’m thrilled about where we’re headed, but I also want us to focus on breaking another record.  I’d like to see profitability rates increase.  See, more dollars in the till is great, but if the expenses are going up at a rate higher than ticket prices, then who cares how much we gross, right?

Grosses are up.  Attendance is up.

Now it’s time to get profitability up.

Because that would be a beautiful business trifecta.

Will we do it?

Only one way to find out.  Next season begins now.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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Comments
  • Jared says:

    The increase in attendance is the more exciting number to me, although its a shame we don’t have more detailed data about who those people are (how many are repeat theatre goers vs. how many only saw one show a year). I kind of suspect that a large part of the attendance increase is the same people going to see multiple shows, which is great, but I still think the industry as a whole could do a better job of converting people into first time theatre goers. The number of people who live in NYC who have never seen a Broadway show is a little depressing.

  • There is so much about this season that just ended to be excited about! These numbers are great, but I believe they are climbing in part due to the QUALITY of the content being produced. We have more originality and creativity in shows like Fun Home, Something Rotten!, and even An American in Paris with its innovative staging, choreography and projections really raises the bar. I just hope we can continue this trend of fresh ideas, certainly with Hamilton in this new season, we have another surefire big winner on our hands. In terms of increasing profitability, the first thing that comes to my mind is lowering operating costs by cutting down on unnecessary spectacle. If a show is really good, it doesn’t need every single bell and whistle to sell tickets. Hamilton is not a spectacle-heavy show, though it certainly is an anomaly in its genius. Regardless, this is all cause for celebration, so cheers! XOXO

  • john says:

    On the surface it looks like all the increases in revenue and attendance came from the increase in playing weeks.

    The good news is that there seems to be demand for more product, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that individual products are doing better.

    On average revenue per week played went down by 1%. Adjusted for inflation that is more like a 2.5% decline. Hardly a sign of growing prosperity – unless the growth in playing weeks comes from existing theaters reducing idle weeks. If the growth comes from adding new capacity, the signs are less promising.

    Of course, theater is not a business of average performances. There are some gold mines and other black holes.

    Averages don’t give much insight into how many of each you have.

    • Greg says:

      @John – I had some similar questions. Average revenue per playing week is a start, and could be useful YoY, but what I’d like to see is average seat revenue per playing week (maybe even broken out in tiers). That would compensate for the fact that a playing week at the Cort does not equal a playing week at the Gershwin, independent of the quality of the shows.

      Also average revenue per person/party, broken out by source (ticket, souvenir, non and alcoholic bar, etc.) would be incredibly informative.

      And of course from a statistical point of view, the averages should be paired with a standard deviation…

  • Embedded in the hype is the shocking revelation that 70%, that is 70% of the Broadway audience are tourists. So a meager 30% of the audience is local and probably half of that are corporations and producers who buy tickets. The real TKTS audience buys most tickets at a discount, but the prices $100 or more are outrageous for cramped seating and often runs that are too short or vanity productions for TV actors on hiatus.

  • A.J. Muhammad says:

    How do these statistics factor into the ethnic/racial breakdown of who is attending theater? Traditionally Broadway audiences are Caucasians and women. Is this true of the 2014-2015 season? “Rocky” was an attempt to get men to theater but it ultimately flopped. Was that Broadway’s one and only effort to create a show than men would like?

    Zach, above, mentioned Hamilton, which is coming to Broadway with a bevy of awards and buzz from its downtown run and a significant amount of press for Lin-Manuel Miranda. Hamilton has a multi-cultural cast and is sure to bring in a diverse audience? But how will the other upcoming shows that feature predominantly Latino, Asian or African-American casts (such as “Get On Your Feat,” “Alliance” or “The Color Purple) fare?

    Besides In the Heights or John Legiuzamo solo shows, it has been challenging to lure Latino and for that matter Asian theatergoers to Broadway. Does the fact that these demographics are not necessarily big Broadway goers effect the lack of diversity on stage? If these upcoming shows struggle, does that give an excuse to producers to steer clear of presenting shows that target these demographics or even to do multi-cultural casting in shows that are long running hits? Or will it be business as usual re: casting and productions?

  • Michael says:

    Statistics is what you do Ken, and Broadway and your readers are the better for it !

    So can you help us understand some other stats? While it “appears” attendance was up and grosses were greater by nearly 97 million bucks, there were also 130 MORE playing weeks. That’s a lot of weeks.
    Divide that by the 97 million and the attendance, and the figures seem to be a bit skewed.

    That being said – WOW – 130 more playing weeks……..more shows (were there?), more visibility for Broadway, more people (70%) going home and saying “I saw a Broadway show and I can’t wait to go back” !! And 130 more playing weeks means more employment, which is pretty awesome !

  • Tom says:

    Another reason for an increase in attendence is what I call the turnstile show. Major Actors for only a short time in the show can not only draw a new audience, but a repeat audience to see a different dynamic. Chicago has done it for years, and Hedwig has had four or five in this season alone. It’s Only A Play and others have been doing it more than the normal replacement cycle of actors.

  • Only in the theater would we see a 7.5% increase in attendance or income as cause for throwing our hats in the air. That would be considered a negligible ROI in any other for-profit industry. It’s like when the nonprofit theaters celebrated wildly because the NEA had its budget raised to a level we hadn’t seen since the Reagan Era — totally ignoring that the cost of living during the ensuing years made that “higher” budget actually a much lower amount than in the Reagan Era. But hey — why deal with reality? Clap your hands for Tinkerbell!

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