Here’s a long-term lobbying goal for our industry.
Maybe it’s because I’ve seen a lot of “Are you planning for your retirement” commercials lately, but I’m on a serious long-term fix lately. (And retirement? Bahahahaha – that’s why I’m in this business, because I don’t have to!)
First it was my freaky freakonomics football blog from last week. Today it’s a long-term on-a-wing-and-a-prayer lobbying suggestion. And I’ve got something about a potential dramatic increase in discount availability tomorrow.
But today it’s about what happened yesterday.
Yesterday was one of a handful of federal holidays that close businesses and encourage BBQs throughout the year.
You know what else they encourage?
Give people a day off of work? Whether that’s Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, and so on . . . our business goes up.
It’s obvious why. The fuel of our box office is tourist traffic (65% of our audience comes from outside the tri-state). And when people have time off they travel. And many come here to New York City. And when you come to New York City, odds are you are going to see a show.
And bammo. Box office gold rush.
See where I’m going?
All it would take is one more holiday weekend per year to create a pretty significant spike in our yearly gross. And hey – there are still a few months without a Federal holiday. What about something in March or April? Or even vacation-laden August?
Obviously this isn’t something I would spend a lot of time on if I were leading the League’s lobbying charges because it’s so long-term, and also so long of a shot . . . but if there was ever a movement for another holiday, our industry should jump on it. And I’d bet in the next 10-15 years, there will be (I told you this was looking way out on the horizon!).
There’s another related initiative that could also encourage more Broadway business, that’s a little more achievable . . . and faster.
On average US employees receive less vacation time than other advanced economy nations around the world. France gives their folks around 30 days. Italy 20. PLUS HOLIDAYS!
There have been attempts to mandate vacation days as part of employment (only 3 in 4 US employees actually get paid time off). But if we could get US employees more vacation time over the next 10-20 years, then our business would see a small but definite benefit.
So write your congresspeople . . . give your employees more time off . . . you’ll be helping to give Broadway a boost, and probably get happier employees in the process.
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