Entertainment Spending - Boston

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Entertainment Spending

Among the categories of live events that we researched (museums, theater, touring attractions, and pop-up exhibitions), consumers spend the least on museums and the most on Broadway theater performances. To put the all the insights provided herein into context, the average American spent $3,226 on entertainment in general in 2018.

Entertainment Spending By Type of Live Event

1. Museums


  • A comprehensive study of cultural organizations (which included museums, aquariums, zoos, and the like) in the U.S. was conducted by the group INSIGHTS and relevant findings from that study are provided below. Though some organizations other than museums were included in the study, we decided to provide its findings nonetheless because (1) museums were specifically included in the study and (2) the findings are directly relevant to live event spending.
  • The study found that the average visitor (as distinguished from a member) to a cultural organization (which includes museums) spent a total of $33.91 per year at such places.
  • The average cultural-organization member spent a total of $135.25 per year at cultural organizations.
  • The average visitor to a cultural organization spent $18.94 on admission fees per year.
  • The average cultural-organization member spent $92.71 on admission fees per year.
  • The average amount of money spent annually on food while at cultural organizations is $5.03 for a visitor and $7.24 for a member.
  • The average amount of money spent on gifts from cultural organizations per year is $1.80 for a visitor and $22.18 for a member.

B. Additional Findings

  • The ceiling price for a ticket to an art museum is about $25.
  • The American Alliance of Museums stated that among leisure travelers, 76% "participate in cultural or heritage activities such as visiting museums. These travelers spend 60 percent more on average than other leisure travelers."

2. Theater

  • The average price paid for a ticket to a Broadway performance was $123.07 in 2017/18.
  • Among non-profit theaters, the average ticket price was $39.34 in 2018. With one exception, that average price has increased annually from 2010 to 2018. For reference, the average price in 2010 was $30.97 and in 2014 was $34.35.
  • At the upper echelon of spending on live theater, a premium ticket to a show on Broadway can exceed $200. For example, the average ticket price to the performance Hamilton at one time was $303.

3. Touring Attractions

  • A study of 47 cities across the U.S. found that the average cost of a concert ticket ranged from $73.09 (in Grand Rapids, Michigan) up to $127.57 (in Los Angeles, California).
  • Among Americans surveyed, concert tickets were deemed the most-overpriced item, as 69% cited such as overpriced.
  • At the upper echelon of ticket prices for concert tours was Taylor Swift's Reputation tour from 2018, which was the top concert tour in summer 2018 based on net sales. The average ticket price for that tour was $279.

4. Pop-Up Exhibitions

  • Per a CNBC article, "patrons [are] willing to pay between $20 and $40" for admission to a pop-up museum/exhibit.
  • Two prominent pop-up exhibitions in the U.S., the Museum of Ice Cream and Egg House, achieved sell-outs when tickets were priced at $18 each.
  • The Museum of Ice Cream started out by charging $16 per person when it first opened, but a ticket now costs $38.

Research Strategy

To analyze how live event spending varies according to the type of event, we began our research by looking for statistics about each of the specified categories (museums, theater, touring attractions, and pop-up exhibitions). We decided to look for statistics about each category because those insights would provide quantitative data that specifically demonstrates spending fluctuations among the categories. For touring attractions, we focused on concert tours because that was the event type that we were able to find data about within that category (touring attractions). All of the insights we provided are specific to the U.S., as was requested. Lastly, some of the sources we consulted and cited to in our research were Statista, the American Alliance of Museums, CNBC, Market Watch, and PR Newswire.

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