Will THIS Create a Pricing War on Broadway?

Big changes are afoot at one of the biggest ticket sellers on Broadway.

Starting yesterday, it was announced that the TKTS outlet at Lincoln Center no longer lists shows at 50% off, or 40% off, or any percent off.

Instead, the digital display will list the actual price of each show’s ticket . . . $199, $75, $60, etc.

Provided this test goes well, expect to see it put into effect at the primary TKTS location in the middle of Times Square, where it will have a massive impact on how tickets will be sold.

Here are just three things listing prices instead of percentages will do:

  • Speed up the purchase decision. No longer will customers have to ask for a price (or do the math) when they walk up to a window.
  • Give lower priced shows (hello Off-Broadway) a way to stand out against their high-priced competitors instead of appearing like they are the same price (two shows at 50% off sounds like the same price even though one may be half as much).
  • Eliminate the idea that the tickets are being sold at a discount. If it’s a price, it’s just a price, not a % off.  And we continue our slow but steady transition to the pricing strategies used by the airline industry, which has different prices for every day and every flight, instead of discounting every day and every flight.

I’m a super fan of this idea and applaud TDF for taking the first step in what I’m sure is quite a difficult transition.

But expect us Producers to start examining everyone else’s prices much more closely before we send tickets to “the booth.”

Because if a consumer has two shows he wants to see and can’t decide between them . . . and one of them is even $2 less per ticket?  Guess which show wins.


The exact price at the TKTS booth isn’t something that the Broadway Producer contemplates much right now.  Because the consumer isn’t comparing.

But provided the Lincoln Center test goes well (and I’m betting the price of a couple of premium tickets that it will), we’ll all have to start doing it in the future.

It’ll be a challenge, but it’s better for our consumer and for our industry, so I’m game.

You agree?


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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.