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TRG Arts Reveals First International Analysis Of Effect Of the Pandemic On Performing Arts Ticket Sales

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TRG Arts Reveals First International Analysis Of Effect Of the Pandemic On Performing Arts Ticket Sales

Today international arts management consultants TRG Arts and U.K. arts data specialists Purple Seven have released the first major study comparing the impact of COVID-19 and venue closures in North America and the United Kingdom. The "COVID-19 Sector Benchmark Insight Report" for May 2020 is the first of a series that will be published during the pandemic crisis and recovery.

Using almost real-time data from 250 feeds from the box offices of both commercial and not-for-profit venues of all scales in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada, the study reveals that in North America comparative annual ticket sales fell by 71 percent during the week of March 16, and have not recovered. Sales collapsed faster and more steeply in the U.K. with an immediate 92 percent year-on-year fall in the two weeks after venues were closed on March 16, 2020. There has been no upturn.

Over the past two months North American year-on-year sales have continued to decline despite the accelerated release of lockdowns in many states, and will dwindle to the levels seen in the U.K. if the current trend continues throughout June.

There is considerable variation in performance between organizations. The data indicate the largest and smallest organizations in North America are struggling the most. In the U.K. the smallest organizations are seeing the biggest proportional reductions in year-on-year sales. A higher proportion of U.K. organizations have made the strategic decision to take all future events off sale and most organizations with ticketing revenues of less than £1 million sold no tickets in the three weeks from May 4-24, 2020.

TRG Chief Executive Officer Jill Robinson said, "I am not surprised to see that the initial impact of COVID-19 has been more pronounced in the United Kingdom. Many North American organizations place a far greater emphasis on building a loyal customer base and our analysis shows that proportionally 'loyalists' are booking more during the pandemic. Subscription revenues continue to be the bedrock for many North American arts organizations, and we are hearing of record subscription sales in 2020 from some of our clients despite the virus. Most venues in the U.K. don't offer subscriptions."

Robinson added, "With some states planning to re-open movie theaters within weeks, we'd expect to see confidence in and bookings for performances in North America beginning to rise again. However, this has not been the case across our participating venues thus far. Having access to near real-time data in the coming weeks will be crucial to track whether as a sector we are on a pathway to recovery, or if the shadow of the pandemic is continuing to have a major impact on customer behavior."

Purple Seven CEO Stuart Nicolle commented, "Through this study we have answered one important question about the relative initial impact of COVID-19 to the arts in the U.K. and North America. By confidentially sharing their data for aggregate analysis, participating venues will allow us to dig far deeper in the coming weeks and see national and international trends emerging over time."

Nicolle continued, "The next big question we plan to answer is are increasing philanthropic revenues compensating for a reduction in ticket sales? We also plan to look in detail at what types of patrons who are choosing to book and examine what signals we can see of consumer confidence returning in the longer term."

Purple Seven and TRG Arts continue to offer free access to the free COVID-19 Benchmark Dashboard to organizations in the U.S., Canada, the U.K..and now the Republic of Ireland. To register visit

The full COVID-19 Sector Benchmark Insight Report is available at TRG Arts and Purple Seven plan to publish further studies on at least a monthly basis while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the arts and culture sector.

TRG Arts offers a range of free resources for cultural and arts professionals throughout the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and the EU to ensure the field of arts and culture thrives now and after the COVID-19 crisis:

· TRG 30, a weekly 30-minute webinar series of crisis counsel and best practices that attracts hundreds of executives globally each week:

· TRG 30 Virtual Network on LinkedIn, where arts professionals gather and have their questions answered by TRG consultants:

· TRG blog for the latest on COVID-19 related topics:

TRG hosts Executive Recovery Summits, intensive weekly three-hour virtual sessions with up to 15 arts/culture senior executives from around the world to help them manage through the massive shutdown of the sector. For information and to register, visit

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