How About That, Subsidized Tickets

According to a press release from the Metropolitan Opera, the organization is offering approximately 1,600 $25.00 tickets for weekend performances throughout the remainder of the 2008/09 season. The regular price for these tickets ranges $140.00 to $295.00 and the price difference is being counterbalanced through $3 million in donations from among Board’s 45 managing directors…

Kudos to the Met for recognizing the value in lowering ticket prices.
Kudos to the Met for recognizing the value in lowering ticket prices.

Based on information from the press release, it appears that approximately 1,600 subsidized seats are going to be distributed over 31 performances which averages to out to approximately 50 seats per show. In order to qualify for the special ticket price, the Met has established a lottery system that operates exclusively through their website.

It is particularly heartening to see an organization recognize the value in establishing a fundraising campaign targeted toward lowering ticket prices. At the same time, according the press release this offer is “in response to the recession” which would indicate that there are no plans to make the program an ongoing effort from one season to the next. Given the fact that the subsidized tickets only account for approximately 1.3 percent of available seats during each performance, they are in prime seating areas. As such, it would be ideal if the Met would see the value in making this subsidy a permanent part of their fundraising and pricing strategies regardless of economic conditions.

It will be interesting to see if the Met releases any data regarding the numbers of individuals that enter the ticket lottery, the number that follow through and pay for tickets, etc. At the very least, we’ll have to wait until the end of the season before any sizeable data is likely available. In the meantime, kudos to the Met for moving in a better ticket pricing direction that previous efforts this season.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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