Pride is not a sin. It’s a seller.
How many of you have been following the story of the Brooklyn Nets?
Since you’re all theater fans, I’m going to make a sweeping generalization and say, umm, probably not.
So, the New Jersey Nets basketball team is not in New Jersey anymore. Starting this year, the New Jersey Nets are now the Brooklyn Nets, bringing back professional sports to the borough for the first time since 1957.
And, as you can probably imagine, Brooklynites and Bball fans are pretty psyched about it.
So much so, that 10,000 season tickets have already been sold, and . . . get this . . . more Brooklyn Nets merch was sold on the first day it was available than the New Jersey Nets sold in an entire season.
What’s going on?
The Brooklyn Nets have been adopted by its locals, and they’re going to cheer the team on from their seats and from their wallets. Pride buys.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could get local NYers to have the same kind of feeling about Broadway (or your local residents feeling that special something about your local theater)?
I know that locals love Broadway, but I think it’s time we took a lesson from the Nets and other institutions that have learned how to harness the power of pride for their own good. Here’s a few things that I think we could do to stir up some sentiment from our own:
- Broadway needs its own official merch line, like the NBA or NFL or even NYC itself. The merch could be sold online, of course, but also at the merch store in every theater. And the League could keep the bucks, or split some of it between the running shows (which is sort of what some of the pro leagues do).
- We do offer discounts that are technically designed for the local audiences, but they aren’t branded that way. Let’s take a cue from Vegas and have a “We Love Locals” campaign, especially during our slowest times of the year. (In my hometown of Sturbridge, MA, a local ID got us in to Old Sturbridge Village for free – which made me feel cool and like a VIP – and people like to go to where they are treated like a VIP, and they like to go with friends so those friends can see them treated like a VIP.)
- Establish a Broadway gives back charity, where money raised through our Broadway channels goes directly to NYC public schools, or have Broadway stars clean up our public parks, etc. If we give, we’ll get.
- Nothing stirs up pride more than someone or something to compete against. Hollywood? The West End? This bullet point is admittedly half-baked because it’s not as easy to generate that kind of energy if we’re not in a league like the Nets. But there’s got to be a way to get the same sort of spirit cookin’ using a competitive motivator. You have thoughts?
Getting people to feel like they own something, like they are a part of a “team,” is a fantastic way to drive sales at a very low cost. Because when people are proud of something, they want to talk about it.
And more importantly, they want to take people to it.
What ideas do you have to increase Broadway (or your local theater’s) pride?
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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.