Broadway reports close to a billion dollars in gross sales. But was it more?

The industry breathed a collective sigh of relief as Santa brought us a few more presents than we were expecting this holiday season (set your expects low enough and you’re bound to exceed them).

The last two weeks of the calendar were pretty decent, and they added to our industry’s total 2008 grosses to once again yield a number that flirted with a billion, but didn’t go all the way, as you can read here.

Or did it?

I spoke on a panel at the Ticket Summit yesterday to a room filled with ticket brokers or the “secondary market”, as they are called.

As I stared at all of them, and as we debated whether or not there were ways to work together, all I could think of was . . . what was the total amount above the face value that all secondary market resellers earned in 2008?  And if we added that number to the overall gross figure, what would the true gross of Broadway tickets be (even though authors, investors, unions, etc. aren’t sharing in that extra moola).

Does the broker vig tip the scales over a billion?  I’d bet it does.

Think the secondary market would ever share this info with us?  Doubt it.  But I wouldn’t either.

But there has to be a way that we can work together that satisfies the concerns of both parties. They have something of tremendous value to shows:  customer information for full price (and beyond) buyers, and we all know those peeps are the key to recoupment.

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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.