New reporting system inflates grosses

Numbers-crunching brightens Broadway outlook

One key factor that could boost Broadway past the billion-dollar mark is a simple matter of numbers-crunching.

A new sales reporting system was instituted this season by the Broadway League, the trade association of legit producers and presenters.

In the past, receipts have been reported by theater management, indicating a show’s weekly “net gross” — i.e., numbers that subtract credit card fees, pension fund deductions and group sales commissions from the tallies.

As of the 2009-10 season, reported sales are “gross gross,” or figures that do not adjust for such fees and deductions. Because of the change, tallies for some top-selling shows can regularly inflate significantly.

“I think the gross gross will definitely hit $1 billion this season,” says Broadway League exec director Charlotte St. Martin. “But it’s a probability that we may even make it with net gross.”

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