Winning the Lottery

Lotteries are becoming commonplace in the theatre market as shows are looking for ways to bring back die-hard fans, provide an opportunity for cheaper tickets and fill those difficult seats. But there are two different types of lotteries . . . and one which is much more effective than the other!


Let me explain these two types.

Type One: The ‘Let’s-get-rid-of-all-our-spare-seats’ lottery

The aim of this lottery strategy is strongly centred around the philosophy that you get what you pay for. Rather than letting enthusiastic advance ticket purchasers paying $70 or $80 (or $175 at Book of Mormon) for a restricted view seat, it is better to give these tickets to people who have only paid $30 because then they will get their money’s worth.

If I am to put my financial hat on, this strategy is definitely more appealing in the short term. By selling each of these seats at $30 as opposed to their potential $70, each seat is making a much smaller loss and providing the show with more revenue. But let me make this clear . . . this is great for the SHORT TERM. Not necessarily the long-term!

Type Two: The ‘Let’s-give-our-highly-motivated-fans-something-to-talk-about’ lottery

The aim of this lottery is markedly different. Rather than raffling the cheapest seats in the place, this strategy holds some much better seats for the ticket lottery. Generally they are in the front row – and while they would usually be classified as premium seating, a lot of people find this experience too close. But not they die-hard fans!

For a die-hard theatre fan there is nothing better than sitting within touching distance of the stage. It engrosses these audience members in the experience and allows them to see every little element up close while appreciating the backstage view watching performers wait in the wings or watch scenery move on and off the stage. Considering most of the people at lotteries are desperate to see the show, the front row experience is pretty appealing to this niche market. And the opportunity to get a ticket at approximately $30 in this prized location is almost too much to take!

But before making any decisions about which let’s look a bit closer at this demographic . . .

Generally they are younger consumers with nothing to do during their afternoon or evening. Some of the time they are return customers who enjoyed the show last time they saw it. Sometimes they are first-time virgins who desperately want to get in the door. And to find out which shows are doing the lottery and further information about how to enter, these entrants need to be rather tech-savvy.

In summary, they are young, invested and well-connected, comfortable internet users. This means that the winners are going to become pretty powerful word-of-mouth advertisers sharing their experience across Facebook and throughout their closely connected friendship groups.

So which experience would you rather give these lottery devotees? Risk $40 and give them an average experience where they leave only having seen half of the stage. Or risk $100 and give them an experience where they can’t stop telling all their friends about their amazing time.