For a limited run, Springsteen on Broadway sure does seem to be lasting a long time. The Boss announced another 80-odd performances this week, extending his performances at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York through December 15, 2018, more than a year after the curtain originally rose on the one-man show.
Why would the legendary rocker keep committing to five nights a week in front of small crowds rather than another multi-million dollar summer tour? The math, as Fortune points out, is pretty easy if you look at it the right way.
According to the magazine, Springsteen on Broadway has grossed some $44 million since its launch last fall. That pales in comparison to major tours like the New Jersey native and resident has been known to mount – The River tour in 2016 brought in a reported $268.3 million, per Pollstar, with a lot fewer shows than he’s already played at Walter Kerr. But how many more people were getting paid at the settle-up point for those shows? Broadway is an intimate show for Bruce Springsteen, with a man and a guitar, and presumably miles less in overhead, from stage crew and venue costs to hotel and travel expenses.
Tickets at the box office (or for the lucky few to have been deemed worthy of purchase via Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan system, which caught the ire of longtime Bruce fans after many faced the existential dread of their idol’s partnering with a system that deemed them not enough of a fan to get tickets) average an all-time Broadway record of $508 per seat.
On the secondary market, prices have been even more ridiculous. Take, for example, the past week. Performances of Springsteen on Broadway are the top five best-selling shows among all Broadway acts according to data from Ticket Club, and a solid ten of the Top 20. Tickets for the performances sold at an average per-ticket rate of $1,128, more than double face value. Since the start of its run, the secondary market average a gaudy $1,669 per ticket.
And, given the fact that Mr. Springsteen has been known to offer up his own held-back inventory on the secondary market directly, it’s a better than average possibility he has also shared in that profit as well.
Per the announcement of the latest extension of performances, this will be as far as Springsteen on Broadway will go. But with numbers like that, and a short commute to his home in northern New Jersey, who could argue if The Boss decided to just make Broadway a permanent gig?