The Broadway League has released its 22nd annual demographics report (The Demographics of the Broadway Audience 2018–2019), an analysis of Broadway attendance, and comparison to past seasons. The numbers are inspiring and and very positive on many fronts.
√ Highest Number of Attendances by International Visitors in History
√ Record High Number of Admissions by Non-Caucasian Theatregoers
√ For 3rd Season in a Row, Over 3 Million Admissions by Those Under Age 25
Those are 3 statistics that reveal a trending towards (slightly) younger and more diverse. But there were more highlights:
In the 2018–2019 season, Broadway shows welcomed 14.8 million admissions, an all-time high.
Approximately 35% of those attendances were by people from the New York City metropolitan area.
Sixty-five percent of admissions were made by tourists: 46% from the United States (but outside New York City and its suburbs) and 19% from other countries.
This represents the highest number of attendances by international visitors in history— 2.8 million.
Sixty-eight percent of the audiences were female.
The average age of the Broadway theatregoer was 42.3 years old. This average has hovered between 40 and 45 years old for the past two decades.
Along with the overall growth in attendances, the number of admissions by non-Caucasian theatregoers reached a record high of 3.8 million.
Of theatregoers age 25 or older, 81% had completed college and 41% had earned a graduate degree.
The average annual household income of the Broadway theatregoer was $261,000.
The average number of attendances by the Broadway theatregoer was 4.4 in the past year. The group of devoted fans who attended 15 or more performances comprised only 5% of the audience, but accounted for 28% of all tickets (4.15 million admissions).
Playgoers tended to be more frequent theatregoers than musical attendees. The typical straight-play attendee saw seven shows in the past year; the musical attendee, four.
Respondents reported having paid an average of $145.60 per ticket.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they purchased their tickets online.
The average reported date of ticket purchase for a Broadway show was 47 days before the performance, four days earlier than the previous season.
Google was the most common initial source theatregoers named when they were asked where they looked for information about Broadway shows. Ticketmaster and Broadway.com followed Google.
Twenty-two percent said that they relied primarily on word-of-mouth from people they knew.
Most theatregoers attended in pairs or small groups of family or friends.
The vast majority of current theatregoers had some connection to theatregoing as a child.
In the 2018–2019 season attendance reached an all-time record high of 14.8 million admissions. Among these, 2.8 million international visitors attended a Broadway show. This represents the highest number of attendances by tourists from outside the US in history. Along with the overall growth in attendance, the number of admissions by non-Caucasian theatregoers reached a record high of 3.8 million. Additionally, Broadway welcomed 3.4 million admissions by those under age 25, the third season in a row that attendance from younger audiences topped 3 million.
The analysis is based on extensive survey data gleaned from audience questionnaires distributed throughout the 2018–2019 Broadway season in New York City highlighting both audience demographics and their ticket purchasing habits. Each year brings fluctuations to the make-up of audiences due to a variety of reasons such as content, weather, the economy, and changing competition for leisure activities. Therefore, this longitudinal analysis demonstrates wider trends and changes of the audience over multiple seasons.
“This is a thrilling time for Broadway and our audiences. Think about it, this season you could see every kind of Broadway show, from Tina to My Name Is Lucy Barton; West Side Story to The Lehman Trilogy; Phantom to Slave Play,” said Thomas Schumacher, Chairman of the Broadway League. “The breadth of this programming diversity is exactly what we on Broadway are supposed to do: serve the widest possible audience by doing work that appeals to them. Unmistakably, we have further to go but how gratifying that we continue to see younger and more diverse audiences year in and out.”
“It’s so exciting to see younger and more diverse audiences filling our theatres. Broadway Bridges, Kids’ Night on Broadway, and the Jimmys Awards are only a few of the programs that we have developed to encourage young people and diverse audiences to be a part of Broadway, and this latest report shows the impact of these initiatives,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “Broadway is truly for everyone, and with the wide variety of productions available, it’s no wonder that we’re attracting audiences from everywhere.”
The Demographics of the Broadway Audience is published annually by The Broadway League, the clearinghouse for information on the business, demographics and economic impact of Broadway theatre throughout North America. The League compiles various statistics and publishes extensive reports on a number of topics. The reports are available for purchase online