Broadway attendance dropped 6 percent over last year, marking the second straight year of declining ticket sales.
Additionally, the New York Daily News reports that the average ticket price is up 9 percent to $101. However, the paper says a season of unsuccessful shows, as well as the effects of Hurricane Sandy, had more to do with the attendance drop than the higher ticket prices.
According to the Broadway League, 11.3 million people spent $1.1 billion on tickets during the season.
The second half of the season proved to be more successful, with hits like “Kinky Boots,” “Motown: The Musical” and “Matilda” opening later in the season. One New York lawyer called the dire numbers just a “fluke of timing” since all the successful shows opened at the end.
Bloomberg News, which reported slightly different average ticket prices, quoted the blog of Michael Taustine, the treasurer of the Lyceum Theatre, as saying ticket prices are affecting those attending the theater.
“There is no goodwill left among theatergoers,” he wrote. “They are resentful and angry at the arrogance of Broadway pricing policies. That’s not the way to build customer loyalty, or foster a habit of theater going in what one might hope will be new generations of frequent Broadway attendees. A Netflix subscription is $8.00 a month, and the same star on stage is available on the tube at an all you can eat price.”
Bloomberg points out that Taustine does not speak for his employer, the Shubert Organization, which owns the Lyceum and other theaters. The article also points out that 13 of the 40 Broadway theaters are currently dark, which is an unusually high number before the Tony Awards. After the awards show, it is likely that more closings will be announced.
Finally, Bloomberg also says that the number of “playing weeks” likely will be at the lowest point in a decade.