A premium seat to see Broadway megahit “The Book of Mormon” costs $352 at face value, while a premium seat to “Jersey Boys” can cost as much as $297. For a night at “Wicked,” a premium seat will cost $276, and it was recently announced that Roundabout Theatre Company’s hit revival of “Anything Goes” will offer premium seats for $252, the most for the tax-exempt theatre.
Premium seats are certainly not a new invention in the world of Broadway ticket sales. The idea to sell the best seats in the orchestra for staggering premium prices can be traced most recently to 2001 with “The Producers,” when the popular show hiked prices which helped it generate even greater revenues.
While the tactic does not always pan out for productions (2007’s “Young Frankenstein” made headlines with their premium price of $450, and the show was largely unable to translate such high prices into strong sales), for shows that are already selling strong it serves as a great means of increasing revenue and placating producers.
However, with Broadway ticket prices for orchestra seats already topping $100-per-seat on average, paying for premium seats does not seem financially feasible for many brokers.
“The money on Broadway is in the occasional hot show like ‘The Book of Mormon’ and, of course, workhorses like ‘Wicked’ and ‘Jersey Boys.’ Those shows can charge higher ticket prices and of course, brokers will still see unmet demand and can make money serving those needs,” FanSnap.com CEO and co-founder Mike Janes told TicketNews.
If a show is not selling at the caliber of a “The Book of Mormon” or “Wicked,” where the house is almost always sold out, the buying of premium seats is not necessarily a priority for brokers. After all, if cheaper tickets are available with similar seating to that of premium seats, it makes more financial sense to buy the less expensive seats to resell.
For example, while premium tickets to the “The Book of Mormon” are currently listed on ticket resale sites for as much as $700 each, that can be a difficult leap for many fans. But, tickets to the less popular “Sister Act” are listing for resale at $242 for a premium seat, only $40 above the ticket’s face value; while the margin for a broker might be lower, they may stand a better chance of moving more tickets.
Premium seats are certainly not going away, but without a genuine hit to back up the prices, it can sometimes be more conducive for brokers to concentrate on carrying tickets that can generate more volume sales than spending money on premium seats that they may end up sitting on longer and discounting down the road.