BROADWAY MYTH DEBUNKED #2: Why Broadway did NOT gross $1.58 billion last season.

Did you see the news?

At the end of this year’s season, Broadway released its total gross sales.

The published number? $1.58 billion buckaroonies.

That makes Broadway a big time business, wouldn’t you say? 

Well, I’m here to tell you . . . that number is wrong.

Broadway did not gross $1.58 billion.  

It grossed MORE.

So what happened?  Where is the rest of the $?  And how much is the total total take for Broadway?

Well, here is what is NOT in that $1.58 . . . 

The secondary market markup. 

See, there are more secondary ticketing sites than ever before.  Secondary ticketing (the StubHubs, SeatGeeks etc.) sites are a massive part of Broadway sales . . .  and the entire live entertainment business.

I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me, “You produce Broadway shows! Cool. Can I go see one of your shows? Do I just go on StubHub?”

And on StubHub, we can’t control the prices.  And often, they get marked up.  That’s how the secondary market makes money (along with service fees, of course).

Which means, Broadway is an even much BIGGER business than $1.58 billion a year.  Who knows how much extra is in that mark up, but I’m going to take an educated guess and say . . .

Broadway grossed well over $2 billion dollars last year.  

Unfortunately, Broadway investors, creatives, etc, don’t see any revenue from that markup.  Which is why a lot of people in the biz aren’t fans of the secondary market.

But they’re not going anywhere.  In fact, they’re only getting more powerful.  And their high profit margins allow them to market the eff out of their business.  

Most importantly, they fill a need.  There will always be a customer that must see a certain event at a certain time and pay for it.  

So, I’m starting to wonder . . . maybe there’s a way to work more with them?  

Sometimes when two sides are so far apart, they are more ripe for collaboration.  

And if we did, then the numbers we’d publish every year would be more accurate, more impressive (to folks like the Government for taxes and more), and most importantly, more TheaterMakers would receive more income.

And that would allow them to make more theater.

– – – – –

Next week, I’m taking down yet another Broadway myth.  I’ll give you a hint – it has to do with your favorite big time Hollywood stars on Broadway.  

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.