Memphis by Joan Marcus
NEW YORK — Tourists accounted for 63 percent of the 11.89 million Broadway admissions during the 2009-10 season, according to the Broadway League’s 13th annual demographics report, with international tourists accounting for 17 percent of all admissions to Broadway shows in New York City.
With 8.6 million visits by foreign tourists, approximately one in four took in a Broadway show.
The Demographics of the Broadway Audience was based on extensive survey data gleaned from audience questionnaires distributed throughout the Broadway season in New York City from June 2009 to June 2010.
It includes highlights on the demographics of the audience and their ticket purchasing habits.
“Our annual demographic report reflects the consistency of the Broadway audience, yet slight nuances demonstrate how audiences and their behaviors do change from year to year,” said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League. “We did see a drop in the international tourists from a record high, most logically due to the changing economic conditions.”
The report also shows that the use of the Internet for the purchase of tickets has decreased by 5 percent since the 2008-09 season, from 39 percent to 34 percent. However, online purchase continues to be the most popular method of ticket buying for a sixth year in row.
For show selection, critics’ reviews were the most influential factors for playgoers, followed closely by personal recommendation. However, 48 percent of theatergoers at musicals said that personal recommendation was the single strongest reported factor in deciding which show to see.
Playgoers also tended to be more frequent theatergoers than musical attendees. The typical playgoer saw seven shows in the past year, compared with five for the musical attendee. Those who saw 15 or more shows composed 6 percent of the audience but represented 31 percent of all admissions.
Reflecting a trend of the past few decades, 66.3 percent of the audiences were female, marking the highest percentage of female audiences. Furthermore, 69 percent of those making the purchasing decisions were female.
The Broadway League, founded in 1930, is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. The league’s 600-plus members include theater owners and operators, producers, presenters and general managers in more than 240 North American cities.