Sponsored by Oregon Business

The arts ticket take

| Print |  Email
Archives - August 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009

With unemployment the third-highest in the nation, you’d expect Oregonians to upgrade their subscription to Netflix rather than shell out $40 for a ticket to the theater. But some of the state’s largest performing arts organizations experienced an increase in ticket sales during the 2008-2009 season even as contributions from individuals, foundations and businesses often dropped.

The Oregon Ballet Theatre’s financial woes have made headlines, but it enjoyed a third consecutive season of record ticket sales. Revenue from ticket sales was up $380,000 despite the drop in attendance to The Nutcracker caused by winter storms. Contributions were down 40%, but an emergency end-of-season fundraiser increased income 24%.

Ticket sales at both the Oregon Symphony and Eugene Symphony exceeded last year’s sales, while Portland Center Stage had its second-bestselling season in history (2,000 tickets below 2007-2008, its best season to date). Eugene Symphony and Portland Center Stage also saw an increase in contributions.

“The number of people coming was really strong, but they were definitely shopping for cheaper tickets,” says Cynthia Fuhrman, Portland Center Stage marketing and communications director. “Since our audiences tend to be local, with all the talk about stay-cations they might be turning to things close to home.”

Regardless of the success, all these organizations set lower budgets for next season.

Some groups saw fewer tickets sold. Sales for the Eugene Ballet Company and Portland Opera both dropped 15%. They also reported a drop in contributions. Jim Fullan, director of public relations and marketing for Portland Opera, says part of that drop is because of record box office sales in 2007-2008, when the opera performed big hits such as Carmen and Aida.

Even if ticket sales are high, arts organizations can never meet their budget through earned income alone, says Virginia Willard, executive director of Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts. Typically, sales are 60% of a performing arts organization’s revenue.

“If they rely too much on ticket sales, an arts organization cannot take risks,” says Willard. “If they make a budget on ticket sales, they have to charge more for their tickets.”

One thing is apparent: Those Oregonians with enough financial security to afford a ticket will continue to spend money for that moment when the recession, job woes and rainy weather are locked outside, the house lights dim and the performance begins. 

JENNY FURNISS
 

More Articles

Umbrella Revolution

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015

Yeah, we know: Oregonians are way too cool for umbrellas. But today’s stylish, high-tech models will soften the resistance of the most rain hardened.


Read more...

Can small be large?

Linda Baker
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
040115-lindablogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

Can Oregon remain small but mighty in a global food economy? That was one of the questions raised during this morning’s panel discussion on agriculture exports.


Read more...

The Road to Reinvention

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Damian Smith bets on changing himself — and Portland — through consulting.


Read more...

2015 100 Best companies announced

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 0022cneditBY OB STAFF

The 100 Best list recognizes large, medium and small companies for excellence in work environment, management and communications, decision-making and trust, career development and learning, and benefits and compensation.


Read more...

10 Twitter highlights from #OR100Best

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
100bestBY OB STAFF

Oregon Business held its  22nd annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon celebration Thursday night in the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

Banking Perspective

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Craig Wanichek, president and CEO of Summit Bank.


Read more...

On the Road

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

My daughter turned 18 last week, and for her birthday I got her a Car2Go membership. Not to label myself a disruptor or anything, but it felt like a groundbreaking moment. The two of us, mother and child, were participating in a new teen rite of passage: Instead of handing over the car keys, I handed over a car-sharing card — with the caveat that she not use the gift as her own personal car service.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS