Just Who is Seeing Shows on the Road? Broadway National Tour Demographics REVEALED!

Here is a quick, two-step process to grow a business . . . any business . . . and save money.

  1. Find out who your current customers are.
  2. Increase your advertising and marketing initiatives on that demographic and decrease the time and money you’re spending on other groups.

Those two steps alone will have an instant positive effect on whatever you’re trying to build, whether that’s an audience, a social media following, or even an online suitcase selling-store.

Or as a crude marketer once said at a conference I attended, “It all starts with knowing who is buying your @#$%.”

That’s why I love surveys, and also why I nerd out every time the Broadway League releases new demographic information about Broadway. Or, as is this case in this post, the super-important-but-not-as-talked-about Broadway touring audience.

The road is bigger than Broadway.  There are more road theaters (99, to be exact) and more road theatergoers, which is why we have to pay attention to what’s happening out there.  It’s where so many of our future Broadway audience, as well as future Broadway personnel, first touch a Broadway show.  (My first show was at the Colonial Theater in Boston.  Yours?)

So, here is a list of fun facts from the most recent survey of our National Touring audiences (along with some bolded notes from me).

  • During the 2017-2018 season, Broadway tours across North America garnered 17 million admissions.
  • Of those theatergoers . . .
    • 72% were female.  This is over 10% higher than on Broadway!
    • Average age was 53.7.  This is older than on Broadway!
    • The vast majority of Touring Bway theatergoers were Caucasian.  No surprise here, but increasingly unfortunate. 
    • Of those 25+, 81% had a college degree and 38% had a graduate degree.
    • 55% reported annual income higher than $100,000, compared to only 25% of Americans overall.
    • 39% of respondents subscribed to the Broadway Series at their local venues.
    • Touring Bway attendees see (on average) 5 shows per year.  Can you say subscription? Should we have a Broadway subscription?
    • Women are more likely than men to make the purchase decision.
    • Most commonly cited sources for show selection are personal recommendations, inclusion with submission, emails about the show, and critics’ reviews.
    • 63% said that an incentive would encourage them to attend more frequently (ie – discounts, special perks).
    • 63% of nonsubscribers purchased tickets through the show/theater’s website.
    • Most attended in small groups of family or friends.
    • More than half of the audience said they were involved or interested in theater as a child.  Ding! Ding!
    • The vast majority arrive at the venue in a personal car.
    • 69% said they’d prefer to receive info electronically, not through postal mail.
    • 9% said they speak a language other than English in their homes.

Other highlights from the study include:

  • Continued growth of the internet, especially theaters’ websites, are the preferred platform for finding info, show selection, & ticket purchase.
  • Almost 75% of the audience uses FB regularly and have a strong preference for email over post.
  • 35% of respondents said they visited NYC in the past year, and 83% attended a Broadway show while in town.

Now that you know who is coming (and how some of them are getting there), what would you do to grow the National Touring Audience?  Comment below!

Want more tips on how to grow your business, whether you’re an actor, writer, producer, or anything?  Come to the first conference dedicated exclusively to TheaterMaker marketing on May 17th. Click here for more.

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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.