Broadway League Reveals 2016-2017 Audience Demographics

By: Jan. 09, 2018
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Broadway League Reveals 2016-2017 Audience Demographics

The Broadway League's annual demographics report, The Demographics of the Broadway Audience 2016-2017, compares current Broadway habits in New York City to previous seasons and aids in predicting trends for the future. This report is the 20th publication in a longitudinal study that tracks the trends and changes of the Broadway audiences over time. During the 2016-2017 season, more New Yorkers attended a Broadway show than any season since 1998-1999 and the number of theatregoers under 18 years old was the highest since this analysis began.

The analysis is based on extensive survey data gleaned from audience questionnaires distributed throughout the 2016-2017 Broadway season in New York City. It includes highlights on the demographics of the audience and ticket purchasing habits. Each year brings fluctuations to the make-up of the audiences due to a variety of reasons such as content, weather, the economy, and changing competition for leisure activities. Therefore, this longitudinal analysis is important to track the trends and changes of the Broadway audiences over time.

For the 2016-2017 season, Broadway shows yielded $1.45 billion in grosses. Total attendances reached 13.3 million - attendance per playing week was 8,400, a 4% increase from 2015-16 attendance per playing week of 8,081. Theatregoers came from near and far and represented a variety of ages and ethnic backgrounds, and showed different purchasing habits and theatregoing preferences.

"Last season brought people from all over the world to a Broadway show, but we were especially popular right in our own back yard with the highest number of theatregoers from New York City since the 1998-1999 season! Audiences are responding to the wide variety of productions and the tailored programs such as Broadway Week and Viva Broadway," said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. "We also saw a record high number of attendances by kids and teens, perhaps thanks to events such as Kids' Night on Broadway®, Broadway Bridges™, and the Jimmy® Awards -all programs designed to encourage young people to be interested in theatre."


In the 2016-2017 season, there were 13.3 million admissions to Broadway shows.

The New York City audience accounted for 22% of theatregoers, the highest percentage in fifteen years - or 2.85 million admissions; another 18% came from surrounding suburbs.

Tourists purchased approximately 61% of all Broadway tickets.

Attendance by theatregoers under 18 years old was 1.65 million. Twenty-five percent of respondents were under 25 years old. Moreover, there were another 1.62 million admissions by theatregoers aged 18-24.

Approximately half of respondents said they purchased their tickets online. American theatregoers were more likely than others to use the internet to purchase tickets, whereas those who reside outside of the US were more likely to make the purchase in person.

For the past several seasons, approximately two-thirds (66%) of all attendees have been female. Fifty-one percent of female respondents said they made the purchasing decision to see the show, compared to 44% of male respondents.

Playgoers tended to be more frequent theatregoers than musical attendees. The play attendee saw nine shows in the past year; the musical attendee, four.

Theatregoers reported personal recommendation as the most influential factor when it came to selecting a show to see. Other factors included the music, having seen the movie, internet listings and having seen the show before.

The average reported date of ticket purchase for a Broadway show was 42 days before the performance.

The Demographics of the Broadway Audience is published annually by The Broadway League, the clearinghouse for information on the business, demographics and economic impact of Broadway theatre throughout North America. The League compiles various statistics and publishes extensive reports on a number of topics. The reports are available for purchase online at

The Broadway League thanks Theatre Development Fund for its generous support in co-funding this ongoing research project.