Should we have extra leg room in theaters?

The airline industry and Broadway have a lot in common.

Both have what I call “Perishable Inventory.”  At a certain time (the moment the plane leaves the gate and the moment the curtain goes up), a seat that was worth several hundred dollars, immediately goes to zero.  Poof.  Potential revenue goes bye-bye and you can never get it back.  (Other industries with Perishable Inventory include restaurants, movie theaters, concerts, golf courses, etc.)

Because the airline industry is so massive, they have been the leaders in finding ways to sell as much of their inventory as possible before it perishes, AND maximizing the revenue they get from whatever they do sell . . . to make up for anything they do not sell.

Other industries, including Broadway, often follow suit.

For example . . . first class tickets?  Well, that’s the same as a premium ticket.

Frequent Flier miles?  We have Audience Rewards.

It goes on.

That got me to thinking . . . should we start providing extra leg room seats?

We know that the size and comfort of seats in Broadway houses are a major pain point for consumers.

But how?

By doing something counterintuitive.

For years, we’ve been trying to get more seats in the theaters.  (I remember on Altar Boyz, I added a couple of folding chairs on a side platform and some high stools in the back!).

What if . . . we removed 4-8 seats in one row.  The seats BEHIND that row would have . . . presto chango . . . extra leg room!

Shows could sell those seats at a higher premium . . . to account for the lost revenue from the seats that were removed (which is what the airlines do, of course).

And wait . . . taking another cue from the airlines . . . those extra leg room seats are usually in the front of the plane, to provide easier access to leaving.

What if we put a set of extra leg room seats at the BACK of our orchestras?  We could sell those as priority access to the restrooms!  🙂  I’d put a concierge (like the one we have at A Beautiful Noise) standing right there as the curtain comes down. (Bonus – those back of the orchestra seats are harder to sell, so this might not even cost any revenue!)

Provided there was interest in these seats (and from the audience research I’ve done, I have no doubt there would be), I’m confident that any lost revenue from the “missing seats” could be made up by charging more for the “Extra Leg Room” seats.

Worth a shot, don’t you think?

Other P.I.I. (Perishable Inventory Industries) aside from airlines are experimenting with pulling out seats and creating more unique opportunities for their attendees . . . at baseball stadiums and concert venues.

We should too.

What do you think about having Extra Leg Room seats at a theater?  Think it would work?

Related Posts


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.