Touring Broadway Impact

A new study by The League of American Theatres and Producers indicates that touring Broadway shows contributed $3.25 billion to metropolitan cities across the U.S. in the 2004-05 season.

“The Economic Impact of Touring Broadway” report, based on surveys of theatregoers, measured the impact of nearly 100 shows traveling to more than 250 cities across the country.

Audience members were asked how far they traveled, how important the theatre was to their trip and how much was spent during the trip.

“Touring Broadway shows contribute to the economic vitality of cities where they play,” said Tom Gabbard, president of the NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Arts Center in Charlotte. “They attract visitors who eat at local restaurants and hotels, and employ stagehands, musicians and other creative workers.”

The overall analysis was based on a sample of 16 venues including the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Salt Lake City’s Capital Theatre, Seattle’s Paramount Theatre and the Playhouse Square Center in Cleveland. The results were extrapolated to account for the totality of road productions in the U.S.

A total of 4,895 questionnaires were returned by theatregoers for “Chicago,” “Hairspray,” “Little Women,” “The Producers,” “Wicked,” “Mama Mia!” and others.

The report found that, on average, Broadway tours contributed an economic impact of three times the gross ticket sales to the local metropolitan area’s economy. Patrons spent an average of $73 on related expenses each time they saw a show, with dining before or after the theatre accounting for nearly half of all ancillary spending, according to the study.

Average theatregoers live 38 miles from the venue, and often times patrons travel 40 miles or more to see a show, sometimes spending the night in the area. Fifty-four percent of respondents said the theatre played an important role in their decision to visit that area, the report said.

Jed Bernstein, president of The League of American Theatres and Producers, said that touring Broadway productions not only contribute to local economies by attracting visitors to the area, but also benefits New York City indirectly by serving as an advertisement for shows on Broadway.

Approximately $378 million of touring Broadway’s $3.25 billion returned to NYC. That money came from New York-based goods and services, along with NYC-based actors and staffers who returned to the city, therefore giving back a portion of their salary to NYC.

Touring Broadway’s profits added with that of Broadway’s $4.8 billion contribution returned to NYC, resulted in a combined local impact of $8 billion overall, according to the analysis.

The average cost to produce a Broadway tour during 2004-05 season was $3.5 million.