There are two facts that we live with everyday in the live entertainment industry. Events and shows are getting bigger and we are having trouble filling the seats for them. As the Devo song goes; “when a problem comes along, you must whip it”.
The larger and more complex our shows get, the higher the production costs. The higher the costs, the higher the ticket price. I am not suggesting we get rid of the big production shows, I am saying that we also need to create smaller, lower cost shows too.
When I worked for Feld Entertainment in the 1980′s and early 90′s, ticket prices were pretty reasonable for a family to attend. We would get them in the venue and then get them to buy merchandise. As we joked, it was the traveling toy store. One of Allen Bloom’s famous quotes was; “We are for the masses not the classes.” Today, ticket prices are much higher. They are running TV spots that talk about “affordable” prices but customer can’t get them because they are limited. Or, the ticket price might start off affordable but by the time the fees are added in… I remember when we first offered “special rink side seating”. We offered the seats at the premium price of $25 and wondered if the customer would buy. Today, these seats are big bucks.
If I ran a venue I would look for some smaller but quality shows and events to fill in around the big shows. Shows where you can charge a lower ticket price and fill up the seats. If you are a producer of events, think about shows you can create that will offer excitement to a potential ticket buyer but won’t cost anyone their first born.
One of the hottest trends in the restaurant industry is small plate menu items. With small plates, customers tend to buy more of them which get’s them to often spend more than if they just ordered a full meal. Why couldn’t we do the same in the live event industry?