Sponsored by George Fox University
Home Back Issues August 2009 The arts ticket take

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

Interview: Dr. Mark Goulston

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 10, 2014
JustListenBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.


Read more...

EPA Standards: A breath of fresh air for the region

News
Thursday, June 12, 2014
EPABY ANDREA DURBIN | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Last week, the Obama administration took an important and welcomed step in the effort to protect the health and well-being of all Oregonians by limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants.


Read more...

Oregon Business wins awards

News
Monday, June 30, 2014

ASBPEOregon Business magazine won two silver awards for excellence in writing in the National American Society of Business Publication Editors Western region competition.


Read more...

The business of running a food cart

News
Thursday, June 05, 2014
OBM1BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

What does it take to launch and run one of these mobile food businesses?  


Read more...

South Waterfront's revenge

News
Thursday, July 24, 2014
MoodyAveBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Remember the naysayers?  Those who called the South Waterfront aerial tram a boondoggle?  Those who rejoiced at the massive sell off of luxury condos at the John Ross and Atwater Place?


Read more...

Oversight? Or gaming the system?

News
Monday, July 14, 2014
AmazonBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.


Read more...

OB Video: Building trade ties with the EU

News
Monday, June 16, 2014
BritEmbCampionBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

The Oregon economy could get a boost from a new trade agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union.


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