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Tourists power Broadway, a new study finds

December 04, 2012|By Deborah Vankin
  • Tourists fueled 63.4% of Broadway ticket sales for the 2011-12 season, according to a recent study.
Tourists fueled 63.4% of Broadway ticket sales for the 2011-12 season,… (Charles Sykes/Associated…)

The true stars of Broadway are New York’s tourists, says a new study. Their first sightseeing stop? The Internet.

The Broadway League’s 15th annual demographics report, released Monday, profiles the current habits of theatergoers, comparing it with seasons past, and then predicts future trends. The study, based on questionnaires distributed in the Big Apple, finds that 63.4% of Broadway ticket sales for the 2011-12 season went to tourists. This was up from 61.7% in the previous season.

The Broadway League said that 18.4% of tickets were purchased by international tourists.

Not surprisingly, the trend of using the Internet to buy tickets is increasingly popular – it jumped from 44% to 47% compared with last season.

“This was our strongest 52-week season in history in terms of attendance and grosses with over 12.3 million admissions,” said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League. “We are pleased to see growth in the international market, as New York City continues to show strong tourism numbers.”

St. Martin also said that audiences during the 2011–2012 season were more diverse than in years past.

Word of mouth has the biggest effect on show selection, she said, “with a notable uptick in the power of social networking posts.”

One trend that hasn’t changed much over recent years: The Broadway audience is largely female – 67% in the 2011-2012 season, according to the survey.


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