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Crossing the line to sell tickets

September 17, 2006|Christopher Reynolds

WITH the Pacific Symphony now settled in the just-unveiled Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, leaders of the Orange County Performing Arts Center can rest. For a minute.

Then they'll get back to the business of wooing listeners, and the true competitors will be watching to see how many Orange County music lovers the Pacific Symphony can keep from sneaking north to Walt Disney Concert Hall, and how many Los Angeles listeners it can bring south to Costa Mesa.

How big is that county-line-crossing audience? Over the course of a season, more than 3,500 households.

In 2005-06, the Pacific Symphony's 13,112 subscriber and single-ticket-buyer households included 1,260 from Los Angeles County, or 9.6%.

At Disney Hall, last season's stats show that the L.A. Philharmonic drew 2,359 subscriber and single-ticket-buyer households from Orange County. Because the L.A. Phil's total audience is larger, that amounted to about 7% of total attendance.

Which means -- are you listening, marketing departments? -- that these numbers can be cast in at least two provocatively different ways.

You could say the L.A. Phil steals nearly twice as many listeners from the south as the Pacific Symphony does from the north. But you could also say that on a typical night of music, only about one in 14 of the L.A. Phil's prospective listeners has been tempted north, while nearly one in 10 of the Pacific Symphony's possible listeners has been tempted south.

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Christopher Reynolds

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