While the aftermath of a sudden power outage in New York City on Saturday saw uplifting footage of artists on the street performing for fans after their theaters went dark, the bottom line for many in the event industry wasn’t nearly as rosy. The five-hour power failure, which largely hit the venue-dense mid-town portion of Manhattan, prompted the cancellation of 26 out of 30 Saturday night Broadway performances, as well as the postponement of a Jennifer Lopez show scheduled at Madison Square Garden, and presumably scads of other shows at smaller spaces.
All told, the financial impact of the power outage on live events alone is at least $4 million, according to reports that have surfaced in the days since.
reported that it refunded over 1,500 orders for 27 events, with the losses totaling over $500,000. “StubHub has our customers’ backs, and in the rare instances where something goes wrong, every ticket is 100% guaranteed by our FanProtect Guarantee,” VP of Global Customer Experience Daron Fowlks said in a release. “Saturday’s blackout in New York City was no exception. As soon as we learned of the events affected, our team kicked into action and alerted customers and provided an update on the situation and processed a full refund for the events that weren’t rescheduled.”
While data on the losses suffered by individual Broadway performances isn’t available, Michael Paulson of the New York Times reported that the grosses for Broadway were off by $3.5 million compared to the previous week, per figures released by the Broadway League.
“A Saturday night in summer is a big deal,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League. But she also noted that, every few years, “something happens” to cause a cancellation of performances.
Power went out at 6:47 p.m. Saturday, a little over an hour prior to the curtain for the evening performance at most Broadway venues. The last time such a large number of shows were affected was in January of 2016, when both matinee and evening performances were dashed by nearly 27 inches of snow. The last time a power outage put out the lights on Broadway? 2003.