New Survey Shows New York Theatergoers May Not Be Quick to Return Upon Reopening

By: May. 04, 2020
New Survey Shows New York Theatergoers May Not Be Quick to Return Upon Reopening

A new survey conducted by Shugoll Research shows that New Yorkers will not be immediately ready to return to theaters when they reopen.

This is based on the following findings:

• Only 41% of theatergoers say they are very likely to return when theaters reopen while 17% are very unlikely.

• But more New Yorkers will take an initial wait and see attitude about returning. 58% suggest they will probably wait at least a few months or more before attending while only 21% think they will attend right away if there is something they want to see.

Study author Mark Shugoll says, "This will provide challenges to Broadway shows whose revenues might be slow to reach breakeven levels and non-profits counting on a needed influx of earned income. New Yorkers want their theater back, but they will be cautious in making that happen."

New York theatergoers are considerably more likely to return to Broadway theaters (45% very likely, 19% very unlikely) than other New York theaters. For Off-Broadway, including Off- Broadway non-profits, only 38% are very likely to return immediately with 24% very unlikely.

It was found that the most frequent theatergoers are more prone to be very likely to attend immediately (58%). When they return, many theatergoers also plan to attend the theater as much or more than in other years.

When asked the reason for not being quick to return to theaters, 64% said they are concerned there may be a second wave of the virus, 58% fear that a vaccine won't yet be available when theaters reopen, and 57% say that their health may be at risk from attending. 73% say they would be more interested in returning if a vaccine did exist.

Dr. Shugoll says, "The data in this study are very much impacted by the point in time it was conducted. As the pandemic progresses, views likely will change. Shugoll Research plans to track these attitudes over time."

This study was conducted using a national panel. A total of 300 surveys from New York area residents were completed between April 17 and 24, 2020. Participants were required to attend at least two professional theater productions in a typical year, at least one of which must be in New York City, either on Broadway, at an Off-Broadway non-profit or at a commercial Off-Broadway theater.

To see a copy of the full report, click here.

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