The engine that drives the economy of New York City

Broadway is big business. A really big deal. The latest statistics show that the 2018-2019 season Broadway admissions hit 14.77 million and the season grossed $1.83 billion. Overall, in addition to ticket sales, Broadway contributes $14.7 billion to New York City’s economy and supports 96,900 local jobs. Broadway is so prolific that attendance for the 2018-2019 season surpassed the ten New York City metro area professional sports teams combined (Mets, Yankees, Rangers, Islanders, Knicks, Liberty, Giants, Jets, Devils, and Nets) .

According to Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League, it is unlikely that they will reach the same number of visitors this year as in 2019. “We’re currently between 85% and 88% of where we were in 2019,” she says. “But we continue to grow the audience and hold the audience that we’re getting, so we’re confident that we’ll see similar attendance again by 2025 or 2026. International travel accounted for between 14% and 20% of our visitors, and international travel to New York City still lags behind. Domestic travel is larger than expected and makes up some but not all of the difference. NYC & Company is optimistic about the future and we are closely associated with tourism numbers.”

Broadway bursting at the seams with excitement. From lush musicals to gripping drama, the bright lights of Broadway offer something for everyone. Broadway guests are treated to a plethora of new shows this year, including highly anticipated openings such as A dollhouse and shaken. Currently on the scene and to rave reviews Funny girl, six and a host of other outstanding shows.

St. Martin says: “We have a large number of new shows that have already opened and there are many more to come. Our season starts at the end of May and ends at the end of April. To date we have opened 22 new shows and currently have 16 new shows opening through April 29th. However, that number will increase as we recently had two shows announcing openings. The average number of shows that open each year depends on how many long-running shows are ongoing and how many theaters are closed for renovations. The average number of shows opening each year is between 35 and 42.”

Although the average age of a Broadway theatergoer is 42, that number is trending downward. St. Martin explains, “The average age of our theatergoers is due to programs like Kids’ Night on Broadway, now in its 25th year, Broadway Bridges and numerous programs that reach younger audiences and are run by our League members , returned . In addition, the number of programs relevant to younger audiences continues to grow. There is something for everyone on Broadway. When Disney came to Broadway in 1995, they undoubtedly brought younger audiences, and as it became clear that families were welcome to Times Square and Broadway, more shows followed.”

In 1998, when the first season of The Broadway League did a demographic report, they found that 9.5% of their audience was under the age of 18, representing 1.09 million children. In 2017-18, 15.3% were under the age of 18, representing 2.11 million children. In 2019, 12% were under 18, representing 1.77 million children. In 1998, the 18-24 age group represented 10.4% of the audience, which was 1.19 million visitors, and in 2018, the 18-24 age group represented the same age group with 12.9% and 1.78 million visitors. In 2019, the same age group represented 12% and 1.77 million participants. The combined age groups represented 2.28 million visitors under the age of 25 in 1998, 3.88 million visitors in 2018 and 3.42 million in 2019.

“You can see that we have lowered the average age of the participants over the years,” says St. Martin. “Of course it reflects the shows on Broadway year after year, but overall we’re making great strides. And with the addition of new shows like & Julia and Evil Cinderella added to the hit shows like Wicked, Hamilton, The Lion King, Alladinand others, we will continue to make progress.”

Iconic shows like Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera have made Broadway a must-see attraction for the vast majority of visitors visiting New York City. Broadway’s Phantom has been seen by 19.8 million people and will celebrate its 35th anniversary on January 26, 2023. In September, it was announced that the Broadway production would end its hugely successful run on February 18, 2023, resulting in sold-out performances queuing around the block at the Majestic Theatre. Due to exceptional demand, production is now being extended until April 16, 2023. This is the only possible extension.

A Broadway experience is like no other. Although dramatic plays can be mesmerizing, it’s the musicals that draw the biggest crowds. The lights are dimmed and the orchestra begins the overture. It’s a “goosebumps” moment for the audience. Once someone catches their first Broadway show, they’re usually hooked. In fact, Broadway attracts regular audiences and 61% of audiences attend at least two shows per season. The average Broadway theatergoer attends four shows. Thanks to the powerful engine of Broadway, New York City is experiencing a decisive economic boom like no other city in the world.