Dynamic Arts

Sports teams and companies like Ticketmaster aren’t the only ones experimenting with variable pricing these days, as performing arts presenters have started to test the waters.

Los Angeles’ Center Theatre Group recently instituted dynamic pricing for “God of Carnage,” a play featuring Jeff Daniels, Marcia Gay Harden and James Gandolfini at the Ahmanson Theatre.

While premium seats started at $120 when tickets first went on sale, the same seats quickly rose to as much as $200, Center Theatre Group Marketing Director Jim Royce told the Los Angeles Times.

“We were selling tickets like nobody’s business,” for $120, he said, noting that when dynamic pricing kicked in, the average ticket price was driven up to nearly $80.

With dynamic ticketing, the group has reportedly grossed more than double the previous box office record for a play at the theatre.

Still, Royce added that since CTG is a nonprofit, the group has “a mandate to make sure that some prices are affordable,” and has yet to apply dynamic pricing to balcony seats or phase out a special $20 ticket program.

At the for-profit Pantages Theatre, the Times found a similar philosophy at work.

While dynamic pricing is in place, management has elected to keep some orchestra seats at $25 while the venue trains patrons in the ways of dynamic pricing.

“We focused on communicating that the price you’re buying at today is not necessarily the price it was yesterday, or what it will be tomorrow,” Associate GM Jeff Loeb told the paper. “Hopefully, we’ve put the right offer to the right patron at the right time.”

Other arts groups including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Opera are also considering dynamic pricing, the Times said.