How much of an economic impact did Broadway make in 2008-2009?

For 15 years, The Broadway League has been measuring our industry’s impact on the NYC economy.

This year, the League changed up how these figures were calculated (much like how the League changed the publishing of our grosses and attendance a year ago).  Previously, the impact only counted money spent by those people who came to NYC “primarily to see a Broadway show, or extended a trip made for another purpose in order to go to a Broadway show.” The reason for the change was to account for the incredible increase in out-of-town visitors (especially the international crowd).  In the 1980-81 season, 69% of our audience was from outside of NYC.  In the 2008-09 season, this figure was up to 81%.

So, to get a more accurate reading, the League now asks visitors to rate Broadway’s importance in their decision to come to NYC on a scale of 1 to 10, and then counts the 8s and above as a “Broadway Tourist” and studies their spending habits.

This more quantitative approach produced a much higher, and I’d argue more accurate, account of what the economic effects of our industry really are to this city.

The results of this year’s report?

In the 2008-2009 season, Broadway’s economic impact was approx $9.8 b-b-b-billion dollars.

To quote the Executive Summary of the report:

“This amount was comprised of direct spending in three areas: spending by producers to mount and run shows ($2 billion); spending by theatre owners to maintain and renovate venues ($51 million); and ancillary purchases by non-NYC residents who said that Broadway was an important reason in their coming to New York City ($7.7 billion) (“Broadway Tourists”).

Those are some serious bucks, don’t you think?

What’s more interesting to me than Broadway Tourist spending is that Producers alone are directly responsible for initiating over 20% of this impact, spending over $2 billion on the production of shows.

Shouldn’t the city, the restaurant industry, the Taxi and Limo Commission, the hotel industry, and so forth, be tripping over themselves to help us with promotions, marketing, tax incentives, and so forth to inspire us to produce more?

To read the release from The League, and to learn how to get a hard copy of the report, click here.

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Advice from an Expert: Vol. XV. The BROTHER of the original Producer of Finian’s Rainbow chimes in.

On Monday, I posted an article written by Lee Sabinson back in the 50s.  My press agent remembered that Lee’s brother, Harvey, was just a tad bit involved in the commercial theater as well.  Yep, Harvey Sabinson worked at The League for twenty years, including a stint as its Executive Director, and worked on Broadway for over fifty!  (Just look at those credits!)

A press agent by trade, Mr. Sabinson’s most famous client was . . . Mr. David Merrick.

That means that Mr. Sabinson worked on the Subways are for Sleeping ad campaign, which has been much-ballyhooed on this blog  (you may remember that we had some feedback on the blog from another of the creators of that campaign).

Well, my press agent sent Mr. Sabinson my blog, and like any great former flack, he responded right away (if only all of our current press agents would respond so quickly).

His response was so fitting, that I thought I’d post it here.  So, here’s another expert, giving it to us straight.

Thanks so much for sending me the souvenir book piece written by my brother almost sixty-three years. I remember it well. I was an ATPAM apprentice to Samuel J. Friedman on the original production. Last week, while in New York, I was Jack Viertel’s guest at a performance of the show, which evoked a lot of memories.

But what amazed me was a list of about twenty producers presenting a revival of a show that only two guys did so long ago (and one of them was only an investor). I also bought two tickets for one of my sons for a total of $244. The original orchestra top was $6.90 of which 90 cents was tax.

You’re not the only one who thinks that both of those things are “amazing,” Mr. Sabinson.

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The 2nd Annual Producers Perspective Social is tomorrow, and it’s SOLD OUT!

Free drink!  Door prizes include tickets, merch, and a Kindle!

Click here for details.(please note, due to overwhelming demand the Social will now at be Hurley’s Saloon)

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