Off B’way makes impact, report finds

Biz does $461.3 million for New York in 2007-08

Off Broadway business generated a citywide economic impact of $461.3 million during the 2007-08 season, according to a report from the Off Broadway Alliance.

Tickets sales hit $173.02 million, according to the report, from 5.47 million ducats sold.

The OBA — an organization of producers, venue owners, general managers, marketers and other industry types — compiled the data for use as a tool in advocating for and promoting the Off Broadway scene.

“I don’t think Off Broadway is in the consciousness of the city the way the Statue of Liberty is,” said Peter Breger, the legit attorney who is chair of the OBA. “We want Off Broadway to be treated as what it is, a unique asset of New York City.”

Report takes into account both commercial fare, which that season included tuners such as “Celia” and “Frankenstein,” as well as nonprofit offerings including “The Receptionist” and “Crimes of the Heart.”

Figures for the season were compiled by surveys of ticketing services, venues and individual producers. Breger said the org worked to make the report as complete as possible, although he admitted some of the season’s smaller productions fell through the cracks.

He described the report’s calculations of economic impact — which takes into account the ripple effect of capitalization dollars, employment wages and the ancillary expenditures of theatergoers, among other factors — as conservative.

Unsurprisingly, the report’s numbers don’t come close to matching those of Off Broadway’s heavyweight brethren on the Main Stem. A study of the 2006-07 Broadway season estimated the Rialto’s economic impact at $5.1 billion.

The Off Broadway Alliance is a 3-year-old org that grew out of a series of regular meetings convened to brainstorm ideas about promoting and sustaining Off Broadway. It is a separate group from the League of Off Broadway Theaters and Producers, although membership of the two voluntary orgs overlaps.

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