Broadway’s $12 Billion Impact on New York Economy Matches Film and TV Biz

Broadway generated nearly $12 billion in spending for the New York City economy during the 2012-13 season, according to a new report from the Broadway League, with a direct spending subtotal that puts the Rialto’s impact in the same ballpark as the revenue generated by the city’s film and TV biz.

It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, since numbers come from different orgs and different timeframes, but the approximately $7.5 billion that, according to the League, poured into the city in Broadway-related direct spending during the 2012-13 season is a tick above the $7.1 billion in direct spending that the film and TV industry brought to Gotham in 2011, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group.

Taking into account the additional spending prompted as direct spending ripples out into the city — as, for instance, when an actor spends part of a salary at an area business whose employees then spend some of that money themselves — the overall economic impact of Broadway comes to $11.9 billion, up from the $11.7 billion yielded in 2010-11, the last season calculated in the League’s biannual impact study of the Main Stem. (Totals from prior years are adjusted for inflation.)

With an attendance cume of 11.57 million, the 2012-13 season reported the lowest turnout since 2004-5. But the increasing prominence of international tourists — who accounted for 2.6 million in attendances in 2012-13, and tend to spend more in the city because they average longer stays — helped the season’s spending totals make up for the shortfall in theatergoers.

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Economic impact reports for Broadway and for the film and TV biz can be used as proof of the entertainment industry’s role as a significant economic engine, aiding biz advocates as they lobby city and state governments for tax breaks and other incentives that would encourage future activity.

Tourists, long the major driver of Broadway’s success — particularly for longrunning productions — accounted for $6.46 billion  in spending at hotels, restaurants, parking garages and other city businesses, with an additional $979 million spent by Broadway itself in production and operating costs (such as salaries and advertising). An additional $11.5 million in direct spending was generated by capital improvements to Broadway theaters.

The League’s tourism totals take into account the spending from city visitors who ranked Broadway as one of the top reasons for their visit to Gotham (ranking it 8, 9, or 10 on a scale of one to 10).

The 2012-13 season encompassed 46 new productions as well as 35 ongoing titles, with total productions costs, according to the report, coming in at $201.1 million — a notable dip compared to the $218.5 million from 2010-11, when there were 43 new productions. The difference seems to indicate that producers are being a little tighter with their production and operating budgets in an effort to make profitability more likely.

With the economic impact of touring Rialto shows last estimated at $3.35 billion for the 2008-09 season, Broadway can make a claim to generating more than $15 billion for the U.S. economy.



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