Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium

+ ART.


National Endowment for the Arts

Broadcasting: What the Arts Can Learn from Professional Sports

a research study by Steven Dawson

“Why do sports and the arts have to be in completely different categories?”  That was the question that a fellow classmate asked a few months ago.  It seems true that arts and sports reside in opposite sides of our minds, but do they actually share similarities?  The arts have notoriously struggled as a whole to bring in revenue, a skill that sports leagues have seemed to perfect.  What can the arts learn from sports and its strategies?  I will address this question by looking at sports broadcasting and relating how it would work with the arts.

First, let’s take a look at the differences between the arts and sports.  On the surface, it is obvious that the arts are performed or created while sports are played.  The first organized sport, Ullamaliztli, was thought to have been created by the ancient Olmec civilization[1], which was formed around 1200 B.C.[2]  The arts, however, can be traced back even further.  While it was previously held that the oldest paintings were around 35,000 years old, archeologists have found pigments and paint-making equipment that dates back to between 350,000 and 400,000 years old.[3]  The first record of performing arts, however—which I believe is a little more relevant to the comparison here—, was not until 2000 B.C. with the Ancient Egyptian passion plays for the king-divinity Osiris.[4]  Either way, the organized arts were around for centuries before organized sports.

Another difference is in the attendance.  Because of scarcity of events, sports stadiums are built to hold as many patrons as safely (and sometimes unsafely) as possible.  The largest stadium in the world is the 150,000 seat Rungnado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, and the largest stadium in the United States is the 107,501 seat Michigan Stadium—more commonly known as “The Big House”—in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The largest non-stadium sports facility in the world is the 257,325 seat Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.[5]  The arts, however, have relatively much smaller crowds.  The largest performing arts specific venue in the United States is the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, NY, which seats 3,975.[6]  The scheduling is also much different between the two.  A play or musical may have up to eight performances per week, while sports events are much less frequent.  Racing and football, for example, typically occur once per week, and in the case of football, only from August through February.  Hockey and Basketball are a little more frequent, but even then, one may only see two or three games a week.  Baseball is the only truly comparable sport to the arts, having 162 games spread out over seven months.  The arts do have off days, or even off weeks, but they are also usually scheduled to spread evenly throughout the entire year.

One other main difference between the arts and sports is fan passion.  Take a walk in downtown Washington, D.C. and you will only need about 60 seconds before you see a shirt, hat, or jacket with a Nationals, Wizards, Capitals, or Redskins logo on it.  Memorabilia is worn by millions of fans everywhere.  Sports fans also develop a love and a hatred for different teams, depending on location and rivalry, even to the point of fighting, as was the case in Los Angeles in April of 2011.[7]  One of the most heated rivalries in American sports is the New York Yankees – Boston Red Sox rivalry.  You rarely, however, hear about subscribers of the Metropolitan Opera scuffling in an ally with subscribers of Opera Boston.  There exists is a mutual respect in partaking in the arts, even if you believe your city’s organization is better than another’s.  However, respect for actions is a different story.  Sitting in your jeans and T-shirt while munching on a Snickers bar and popcorn at the opera will no doubt earn sharp glares from fellow patrons, but doing the same at a baseball game seems commonplace.  Comfort is far more associated with sports than the arts.

“Plot Highlights” is also a subject in which the two differ.  Any given night, a person can turn on their television or open their newspaper, and find out what happened during the game, but that cannot work with the arts for two reasons.  One is that it is impossible to share what happened in some art forms, like music, the technique of dance, and visual art, unless a writer gets as specific as to say “then the trombone played a B flat.”  The second is that sharing the plot is essentially ruining the story for the next patrons.  No one likes it when a friend spoils the plot to a movie or book, and the same applies in this situation.  The closest equivalent to sports highlights in arts journalism is the review.  But even these are too narrow, speaking mostly to an already established arts community in the know.  Additionally, reviewers tend to make their living, with a few exceptions, on providing bad reviews.  A person with no knowledge of an art form would not be any closer to buying a ticket after reading these reviews.

One last difference is public access.  Sports teams often share pictures, videos, and articles about training camps, practices, and pre-game preparations.  For example, on April 26-28, the National Football League (NFL) held its annual draft, in which the top college players are drafted by the individual teams.  In preparation, the NFL has a combine, attended by every team, at which players show their physical and mental skills. At the draft, on camera analysts discuss player evaluations and performances and debate which team will pick which player.[8]  The public is invited to watch this “behind the scenes” process with open access.  Other leagues have similar processes.  This is also very similar to auditions, in which performers show their talents as best they can and are chosen by the individual companies for their services.  Auditions, however—as well as the rest of the entire production process in general—, are kept closed from the public.  The only part made available to the public is the actual performance, with a rare exception of a paid preview.  But even then, the “access” is not free.  Companies are beginning to post casting announcements online immediately after decisions are made, but that is where the access stops.  Many of these differences are intrinsic to the field and cannot be changed, but some can indeed be changed to provide a sense of access and connection for audiences.

Even though there are many differences between the two, there are also many similarities.  First, there is the recognition and presence of talent.  In both arts and sports, there are different levels of talent, and audiences can pick up on it.  Both can also be engaged in from a young age, and many times are.  My childhood memories are littered with thoughts of little league baseball and soccer as well as church plays and children’s choir. Competitions are also a common theme in both the arts and sports.  Obviously, sports by nature are competition, but there also exist vocal competitions, literary competitions, one-act play competitions, and show choir competitions.  Even the Tony Awards and the Grammys are a form of competition.  The largest similarity that strikes me, though, is that both fields are a cultural recreational activity from which people find enjoyment and are many times willing to pay for.  It is these similarities that cause me to think the arts can learn from sports.

But why should we use strategies used by sports teams and leagues in the arts?  The answer is simple. Money.  Any organization, whether sports team, theater, dance company, bank, or manufacturer, needs money to operate, and arts organizations have been trying to figure out how to fill their coffers for centuries. It seems that for the most part, sports teams and their leagues have figured out an effective income system.  For the sake of proof, let’s take a look at a few examples:

In 2008 (the latest year I could find), the 32 teams in Major League Baseball (MLB) combined for a league-wide revenue of $5.8 billion, with the highest earning team, the New York Yankees, earning $375 million and the lowest earning team, the Florida Marlins, earning $139 million.  Granted, that is a large difference in income.  But, when your “least successful” team still makes $139 million, you are in good shape.  The MLB does have a revenue sharing strategy, though, in which the most financially successful teams share extra funds with those teams that are in disadvantaged markets.  Also, when expenses are calculated, the league-wide average profit is $16.7 million per team, with only two teams reporting losses.[9]

In the same year, the 32 teams in the NFL—which has been set up to reduce the differences in the “haves” and the “have-nots”—combined for a league-wide revenue of $7.6 billion, with the highest earning team, the Washington Redskins, bringing in $345 million and the lowest earning team, the Detroit Lions, earning $208 million. After expenses, the league-wide average profit is $32.3 million per team, with again only two teams reporting losses.[10]  It should be noted, though, that the two profit losing teams from the MLB are in different cities than the two profit losing teams in the NFL, so location is not necessarily the driving factor.  The trend has continued to rise, as well.  This last year, the league-wide revenue was up 10% from 2008 to $8.3 billion, and the average team profit was steady at $30 million net profit.[11]

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL), widely considered as the third and fourth biggest sports, respectively, in the United States, also earn a large amount of revenue as a league.  However, these leagues have poor business models and many teams in each league lose money every year.  The largest contributing factors are unbalanced player salaries and an ever widening gap between the large market teams and the small market teams.[12] [13]  For this reason, I do not believe it is wise to take revenue strategies from the NBA and the NHL.

So, what revenue strategies can the arts learn from the MLB and the NFL?  There are a few “not-so-savory” charges that some teams slap on their patrons, such as the Personal Seat License, in which the team makes a person pay a very large fee (upwards of $15,000 in some cases) for the right—and only the right, not the actual ticket—to buy a season ticket.  We will stay away from these strategies and focus on those that will not cause our patrons to throw our brochures back in our faces.  The biggest money making strategy that these teams and leagues use is television.  Granted, these for-profit sports teams use television for profit purposes only, and not to necessarily gain audience members, still the effect of growing patronage is achieved.  Once again, let’s take a look at the MLB and NFL for proof that proper use of broadcasts can grow an audience base.

Until 1982, MLB teams were mostly covered by local radio and occasionally local television contracts.  There was also a “game of the week” that would air nationally.  In 1982, national broadcast contracts totaled $53 million, which, relative to today’s contracts, is petty cash.  In stadium attendance that year was 44,588,873 (see figure 1).  In 1984, MLB got television studios to raise their investment in the games three-fold to a tune of $163 million, and again each year until national television contracts for games amounted to $246.5 million.  The increased exposure had an almost immediate impact on in game attendance.  Attendance jumped from 44,588,873 in 1982 to 54,946,096 in 1989.  That is a 23% increase in ticket sales over only 7 years.  In 1990, MLB built on this success and quintupled its national television contracts to $1.46 billion per year, and by 1993, the audience attendance had risen to 70,256,459.  That is another 28% increase in only 4 years.[14] [15]

1994 and 1995 prove the correlation between television and attendance.  The MLB Players’ Association called a strike in 1994, which cut the season off half-way through, and continued the strike until April 25, 1995.[16]  Television contracts for 1995 suffered, dropping back to 1989 levels ($255 million), and along with them—I’m sure from a combination of fan anger over the strike along with less TV coverage—dropped attendance, down 28% to 50,464,375.  The very next year, however, MLB national television contracts got back on track with deals reaching $1.57 billion per year, and by 2000, attendance had bounced back and even grown to 72,748,970.  It should be noted that in that time, 2 expansion teams were added to the league, which could skew the numbers.  So, to ensure statistical accuracy, we will look at per team averages during this time.  In 1995, the 28 team average yearly attendance was 1.8 million fans.  But by 2000, the 30 team average yearly attendance had grown to 2.4 million fans, a 33% increase.[17] [18]

Another interesting note is that it seems the MLB has reached the end of the bell-curve in terms of effectiveness of television contracts on growing fan attendance.  Since 2000, the national television contracts have over doubled ($3.35 billion per year), but audience attendance has only grown 8% (5,765,888 more total tickets) to a 30 team average of 2.6 million fans in 2008 (78,514,848 total). [19] [20]  This suggests that there is a threshold of effectiveness at which the amount of money spent on broadcasting no longer efficiently boosts attendance.  As I stated before, though, sports leagues do not necessarily have television contracts to boost audience attendance as much as to boost income, which could still be achieved with effective advertisement sales.

Figure 1:                    Note: Gaps in data are due to work stoppages, strikes, or lack of data.

The NFL also saw a direct correlation between investment in television contracts and in game attendance.  Since the number of teams changed from 16 to 26 with the NFL-AFL merger in 1970,[21] and the number of regular season games increased from 14 to 16 in 1977, adjusting numbers to take these changes into account will prove to be quite complicated for the purposes of this paper.  In addition, the real changes in television contracts came after the merger, so I will begin by looking at the 1978 contract changes (see figure 2).  In 1977, the NFL had a $54.1 million national television contract, and—sticking with per team averages to ensure accuracy—the 28 team average attendance was 368,059.  The next year, television contracts were increased almost three-fold to $161.7 million, and immediately attendance rose to a 28 team average of 430,968. [22] [23]

Similar results continue throughout the decades[24] [25], but in an attempt to keep this from becoming too dense, I will skip forward to the 1998 national television contract changes.  In 1997, the NFL reached all time highs in contracts and attendance, with an annual television contract total of $1.1 billion and a 30 team average attendance of 488,472.  In 1998, contracts were increased to $2.2 billion per year until 2005.  The results of this change are astounding.  By 2005, the yearly attendance for the entire league had grown by 2.54 million fans, and the 2005 32 team average yearly attendance was 537,510.[26]  The important point to remember is that in game income is not only earned at the gate.  Fans also purchase food, drinks, memorabilia, programs, and other in stadium items.  In 2005, the NFL fan cost index, which includes all items a fan might purchase at a game, the ticket (average of all ticket levels), fees, and parking, come out to a league average of $329.82 per fan, and had reached $396.36 per fan by 2008.[27]

Figure 2:                   Note: Gaps in data are due to work stoppages, strikes, or lack of data

Again, I will reiterate the point that the television contracts for each league were designed with commercial advertisement revenue in mind, and not necessarily with fan attendance in mind, but the effect of growing audience bases was achieved through increased television exposure.  I have two theories, which are interconnected, for why this happened.  (Unfortunately, they will remain theories, because the only way to prove them would be to individually survey each fan to find out why they attended games).  One theory is that national exposure allows the fans to see the superstars from the other teams.  For example in 1998, only three years after the strike that alienated a multitude of fans, the season that included the infamous Sammy Sosa-Mark McGwire home run race was dubbed “the season that saved baseball.”[28]  The national exposure allowed baseball fans from across the nation to forget their anger and tune in every day to see if either player, or both, could break Roger Maris’s home run record.  I remember turning on the news or ESPN every evening to see what the next chapter in the Sosa-McGwire race held.  My high school friends would brag that they got tickets to the games when either of the two stars’ teams (McGwire – St. Louis Cardinals, Sosa – Chicago Cubs) made their way to Atlanta.  It created a frenzy, even among fans from other teams.  By the end of 1998, McGwire had belted 70 home runs—easily braking Maris’s mark of 61—,Sosa had smacked 66, and fans were again excited to attend baseball games.  Another example is Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the NFL.  These superstars, and especially the rivalry between them, transcended the game and created a buzz throughout the sport.  Much like McGwire and Sosa, these individuals attracted many fans who simply wanted to see legends play live.

The second interconnected theory is that the exposure leads to a tighter connection with fans.  When a fan watches their team play every week, or every day in MLB’s case, they begin to form a sort of virtual relationship with the players and coaches.  I refer to my own experience with this theory.  In 1995, the Atlanta Braves baseball team brought up a young, talented rookie by the name of Larry “Chipper” Jones to play third base.  That year, he won the hearts of many Braves’ fans by hitting 23 home runs and contributing to a World Series title.  19 years later, Jones has broken many Braves records, established himself as one of the greatest switch hitters to ever play, and solidified himself as a lock for the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I, however, have not lived in Georgia since 2005, but in my travels, I have been able to continue to watch Jones play because of national coverage.  And since this is his final year, I will be sure to purchase a ticket to a Washington Nationals game whenever the Braves come to town.

If sports teams and leagues can boost attendance by increasing national broadcasting and using stars to increase the brand image, it seems obvious that the arts can do the same.  Arts organizations already use names to sell tickets, such as Brian Stokes Mitchell at Strathmore[29] and Constantine Maroulis at the Kennedy Center[30], but very rarely are these names paired with a national broadcast.  There are a few organizations across the world, such as the Metropolitan Opera, The National Theatre in London, the Bolshoi Ballet, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, that have begun to broadcast their performances live in certain venues.[31]  The Metropolitan Opera pioneered the use of live broadcasts into movie theaters, and we will focus on their numbers since this program was initiated to see if the strategy is effective.

In 2000, the Metropolitan Opera was booming, with performances selling at 93% capacity.  But as the decade progressed, box office sales began to slow, and by 2006, sales had dropped to 79% capacity.  It should be noted that box office income had actually risen by 2006, but that was because the Met raised ticket prices, leading to a false sense of growth.[32]  That year, the company began an innovative new program called Live in HD, in which selected performances were simulcast into a number of movie theaters for a paying audience to enjoy live, but at much cheaper prices than attending the Met.  Met Opera stars served as hosts, and audiences got a unique view of the performances.  That year, the Met offered 6 transmissions to 248 movie theaters in 8 countries, and the total attendance reached 325,000 (see figure 3).  The next season, 8 transmissions were broadcast to 632 theaters in 19 countries, and attendance rose to 935,000.  Over the next few years, the program grew in number of transmission as well as the number of theaters broadcast to, and by the end of the 2010-2011 season, the Live in HD series had 12 transmissions to 1,500 theaters in 47 countries, attracting over 2.6 million viewers.  Just to put that into perspective, approximately 800,000 people attended performances in the Metropolitan Opera House that season.[33]  This year is looking even more successful.  This season’s October transmission of Don Giovanni reached 216,000 people worldwide in one broadcast, and 50,000 more in delayed showings in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and in “encore” broadcasts in North America and Europe.  Once again for perspective, the entire run of the opera at the Metropolitan Opera House, if completely sold out, would only reach a total audience of 68,000.[34]  This year, the Met will reach 1,700 theaters in 54 countries with 11 transmissions, and current attendance estimates show that attendance will reach approximately 2.95 million people.[35]  Just recently, the Live in HD program sold its 10 millionth ticket, making a strong statement that broadcasting the arts can be a successful venture.[36]

Figure 3:   

The interesting thing about the Live in HD series is that it provides a unique experience for the audience.  You can attend a performance in the opera house, and experience the amazing booming voices and orchestra, marvel at the sets, and get caught up in the emotion of the opera.  Or, you can attend a transmission in a movie theatre and experience amazing cinematography and high definition close-ups of the action, all the while slouching in your jeans and t-shirt while munching on popcorn, and still experiencing the “flow” of the opera.[37]  Neither one detracts from the other because neither one can provide what the other gives.  It is exactly like attending a sporting event.  You can sit at home in front of your big screen television and watch high definition coverage of the action with close-ups, graphics, and commentators, or you can attend the live event and experience the thrill and emotion of live sports.  The experiences are so different.

The prevailing thought in the market is that when you offer a less expensive alternative to your current product, people will leave the more expensive one for that less expensive one.  That has not been the case with the Live in HD performances, however.  In fact the reverse is true.  Since the start of the Live in HD program in 2006, in house attendance at the Metropolitan Opera has grown each year, and as of 2009, had risen to 88% capacity.[38] (see figure 4).

Figure 4:

The same effect can also be seen throughout the entire opera community in the United States.  A 2008 Schugoll Research analysis showed that almost one-quarter (23%) of Live in HD attendees had never seen opera before, even in their own local area.  Also, 30% of participants who had not attended opera in the last 2 years, including those who had never been and those who had, but not recently, and 75% of all participants, regardless of amount of attendance, stated that they were “very likely” to attend opera in the future.[39]  This suggests that even though the Live in HD prices are much cheaper than live opera, the transmissions do not deter live attendance, and in fact they seem to reinvigorate people’s love for the art form.  More recent data also confirms this.  The National Endowment for the Arts reports that from 1982 – 2008, attendance for opera, as well as many other art forms, had been in a steady decline.[40]  Opera America confirms this by stating that opera attendance in 2002 was 6.6 million[41], but attendance had fallen to 4.8 million by the end of 2008.[42]  However, right along the same timeline as the growth of Live in HD, Opera America reported that opera attendance in the 2009-2010 season had grown again to 6.7 million people.[43]  These statistics suggest that the relatively inexpensive access that the Live in HD series provides the public serves as a catalyst for a “trickle-down effect” to other local opera organizations.  People attend a Live in HD transmission, become excited about opera again or for the first time, and in turn patronize their local opera organization.  A win-win for all.

It seems that, while sports and arts occupy very different spaces in the minds of many of the American public, the arts would be smart to follow the lead of the MLB and NFL.  By making proper use of broadcast technology, entities can grow their audience base as well as the audience base for their art form in general.  Other larger organizations are beginning to follow suit in slightly altered versions, like the Dallas Opera’s April 28th simulcast of The Magic Flute in Cowboys Stadium.[44]  I believe that the same effect can be achieved in dance and theatre as well. The interesting question is whether small to midsize organizations can achieve the same results with this strategy, or if it is reserved for those organizations that have a name reputation.  Since I could find no record of smaller organizations attempting a simulcast, that question will have to be answered by the first one brave enough to dive in.  But as in all research and strategy, the only way to map uncharted territory is to take a breath and enter it.


[1] “Aztec Ball Game,”, accessed April 24, 2012,

[2] “Olmec,” Oracle ThinkQuest Education Foundation, accessed April 24, 2012,

[3] “Earliest Evidence of Art Found,” BBC News, May 2, 2000,

[4] “Egyptian ‘Passion’ Plays,” Theatre, accessed April 24, 2012,

[5] “The World’s Largest Sporting Venues,” Stadium Atlas, accessed April 25, 2012,

[6] “FAQ’s: The Opera House,” The Metropolitan Opera, accessed April 25, 2012,

[7] Jaxon Van Derbeken, “Giants Fan Critically Beaten by Dodgers Fans,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 2, 2011,

[8] “2012 Draft,”, accessed April 25, 2012,

[9] “Major League Baseball Income and Expenses, 2008,” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages, accessed April 19, 2012,

[10] “National Football League Income and Expenses, 2008,” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages, accessed April 19, 2012,

[11] “NFL Team Values, The Business of Football,” Forbes, accessed April 21, 2012,

[12] Ailene Voisin, “Voisen: NBA Must Fix Broken Business Model,” ScrippsNews, July 1, 2011,

[13] Kevin Maney, “Amid Cancelled Season, NHL Faces Financial Meltdown,” USA Today, March 20, 2005,

[14] “Major League Baseball Attendance, 1890-2009,” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages, accessed April 19, 2012,

[15] “Major League Baseball TV Revenues, MLB’s National TV Contracts,” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages, accessed April 20, 2012,

[16] Associated Press, “1994 Strike was a Low Point for Baseball,”, updated August 10, 2004,

[17] “Major League Baseball Attendance, 1890-2009.”

[18] “Major League Baseball TV Revenues, MLB’s National TV Contracts.”

[19]  Ibid.

[20] “Major League Baseball Attendance, 1890-2009.”

[21] Ken Rappaport, “The AFL – NFL Merger was Almost Booted…by a Kicker,”, accessed April, 26, 2012, .

[22] “National Football League Attendance, All Teams All Years,” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages, accessed April 20, 2012,

[23] “National Football League TV Revenues, 1960-2013,” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages, accessed April 20, 2012,

[24]  Ibid.

[25] “National Football League Attendance, All Teams All Years.”

[26]  Ibid.

[27] “National Football League Fan Cost Index, 1991-2008,” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages, accessed April 22, 2012,

[28] Joel Roza, “McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, and MLB Steroid Generation – Saviors, Villains, or Both?”,, April 11, 2011,

[29] “Events & Tickets – Calendar,” Strathmore, accessed April 26, 2012,

[30] “Jekyll & Hyde,” The Kennedy Center, accessed May 3,2012,

[31] Zachary Woolfe, “I’m Ready for my Close-up, Mr. Puccini,” New York Times, April 27, 2012,

[32] The Metropolitan Opera, “Annual Reports 2007-08 and 2008-09,” accessed April 28, 2012, 26.

[33] Lee Abrahamian, The Met: Live in HD Press/Fact Sheet, updated April 25, 2012, 3.

[34] Woolfe, “I’m Ready for my Close-up, Mr. Puccini.”

[35] Abrahamian, The Met: Live in HD Press/Fact Sheet, 3.

[36] Associated Press, “Met ‘Live in HD’ Landmark: 10 Million Tickets Sold,” The Washington Times, April 15, 2012,

[37] Tom Teicholz, “Culture with a Side of Popcorn,” Huffington Post, April 20, 2012,

[38] The Metropolitan Opera, “Annual Reports 2007-08 and 2008-09,” 26.

[39] Schugoll Research, “The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD: Who Attends and Why?”, Opera America, Fall 2008, 43,

[40] Sally Gifford, “National Endowment for the Arts Announces Highlights from 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts,” National Endowment for the Arts, June 15, 2009,

[41] “Quick Opera Facts 2007,” Opera America, accessed May 1, 2012,

[42] “Quick Opera Facts 2008-2009,” Opera America, accessed May 1, 2012,

[43] “Quick Opera Facts 2010-2011,” Opera America, accessed May 1, 2012,

[44] “Dallas Opera Breaks World Record For Simulcast by the Dallas Foundation,” Broadway, Dallas, April 18, 2012,




“2012 Draft.” accessed April 25, 2012.

Abrahamian, Lee. The Met: Live in HD Press/Fact Sheet. updated April 25, 2012. 3.

Associated Press. “1994 Strike was a Low Point for Baseball.” updated August 10, 2004.

Associated Press. “Met ‘Live in HD’ Landmark: 10 Million Tickets Sold.” The Washington   Times. April 15, 2012.

“Aztec Ball Game.” accessed April 24, 2012. http://www.aztec-

“Dallas Opera Breaks World Record For Simulcast by the Dallas Foundation.” Broadway, Dallas. April 18, 2012.

“Earliest Evidence of Art Found.” BBC News. May 2, 2000.

“Egyptian ‘Passion’ Plays.” Theatre accessed April 24, 2012.   

“Events & Tickets – Calendar.” Strathmore. accessed April 26, 2012.   

“FAQ’s: The Opera House.” The Metropolitan Opera. accessed April 25, 2012.   

Gifford, Sally. “National Endowment for the Arts Announces Highlights from 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts.” National Endowment for the Arts. June 15, 2009. 

Jekyll & Hyde.” The Kennedy Center. accessed May 3,2012. http://www.kennedy-

“Major League Baseball Attendance, 1890-2009.” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages. accessed April 19, 2012.

“Major League Baseball Income and Expenses, 2008.” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages. accessed April 19, 2012.

“Major League Baseball TV Revenues, MLB’s National TV Contracts.” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages. accessed April 20, 2012. 

Maney, Kevin. “Amid Cancelled Season, NHL Faces Financial Meltdown.” USA Today. March 20, 2005.

The Metropolitan Opera. “Annual Reports 2007-08 and 2008-09.” accessed April 28, 2012. 26.

“National Football League Attendance, All Teams All Years.” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages. accessed April 20, 2012.

“National Football League Fan Cost Index, 1991-2008.” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages. accessed April 22, 2012.

“National Football League Income and Expenses, 2008.” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages. accessed April 19, 2012.

“National Football League TV Revenues, 1960-2013.” Rodney Fort’s Sports Business Data Pages. accessed April 20, 2012.

“NFL Team Values, The Business of Football.” Forbes. accessed April 21, 2012.   

“Olmec.” Oracle ThinkQuest Education Foundation. accessed April 24, 2012.   

“Quick Opera Facts 2007.” Opera America. accessed May 1, 2012.   

“Quick Opera Facts 2008-2009.” Opera America. accessed May 1, 2012.   

“Quick Opera Facts 2010-2011.” Opera America. accessed May 1, 2012.   

Rappaport, Ken. “The AFL – NFL Merger was Almost Booted…by a Kicker.”      accessed April 26, 2012.

Roza, Joel. “McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, and MLB Steroid Generation – Saviors, Villains, or Both?”. April 11, 2011.

Schugoll Research. “The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD: Who Attends and Why?”. Opera   America. Fall 2008. 43.   

Teicholz, Tom. “Culture with a Side of Popcorn.” Huffington Post. April 20, 2012.     popcorn_b_1439246.html?ref=email_share.

Van Derbeken, Jaxon. “Giants Fan Critically Beaten by Dodgers Fans.” San Francisco         Chronicle. April 2, 2011.

Voisin, Ailene. “Voisen: NBA Must Fix Broken Business Model.” ScrippsNews. July 1, 2011.   

Woolfe, Zachary. “I’m Ready for my Close-up, Mr. Puccini.” New York Times. April 27, 2012.

“The World’s Largest Sporting Venues.” Stadium Atlas. accessed April 25, 2012.


Arts Advocacy Receives Research Gift

Two major Arts Education studies were released this past week, the FRSS 10-year comparison and the Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth a 12-year longitudinal study.  When these studies are married, their effectiveness as a tool for advocacy becomes undeniably clear.  While the FRSS will get much of the press because Secretary Duncan presented it, the study is of little consequence to the progression of arts education other then outright stating of significant declines in the amount of offerings across the board.  On the other hand, move over Charlie Bucket, the longitudinal study is the golden ticket arts education advocators have been praying for.

The longitudinal study gives the data for students of Low Socioeconomic Status (low SES) with both high and low arts exposure and their counterparts in the High Socioeconomic Status (high SES).  The matrixes measured for each of the four categories include high school graduation rates, civic involvement, recorded GPA, college graduation rates, average test scores, volunteer rates, other extracurricular activities, and labor market outcomes.  The results are startling, not because they affirm what advocates have said for years, but because of the achievement gap between low SES/low arts and low SES/high arts.

Looking at graduation rates alone, low SES/low arts had a dropout rate of 22%, compare that to low SES/high arts with a dropout rate of 4%.  The low SES/high arts students are even below the overall sample average of 7%.  For the mindset of these low SES/high arts students, we need only to look at the percentage of 8th graders planning to earn a bachelor’s degree 74% compared to 43%.  These are motivated students and compared to their low arts counterparts they are 14% more likely to vote in a national election or local election, 21% more like to volunteer, and 29% more likely to read the newspaper.  Looking at grades and curriculum, the high arts students have an average GPA of .39 points above low arts and were 10% more likely to enroll in calculus while in high school.

It should be noted that the high arts students are inherently involved individuals, as they are participants in athletics and service organizations.  However, students who are involved in other activities but are low arts do not have as high of GPA or curriculum gains as high arts students.

This is all fine and dandy, but why am I saying that this is hugely important when combined with the FRSS data?  Because in secondary school music alone there was a drop of 19% of offered programs for students in the low SES, but the high SES saw an increase of 6% between 2000-2010.  In affect, the advantage is going to the advantaged, while the disadvantaged are becoming disenfranchised.  But there’s more: of the high SES, 62% of schools offered 5 or more courses in the music, while low SES only measured 32%.

One area the low SES has dominated though is in collaboration and integration.  Music teachers in low SES are 14% more likely to consult with other teaches to incorporate units of study from other subject areas into the music curriculum and 17% more likely to utilize an integrated music instructional program with other academic subjects and 18% with other arts subjects.

Like music, visual arts have rather similar data (in secondary schools): a drop in offering for the low SES of 13% and only 22% of the remaining programs offering 5 or more courses.  Compare that to the 95% of high SES schools of which 56% offer 5 or more visual arts classes.  The unexpected number in all this comes from the consulting with other teachers to incorporate units of study from other subject areas into the visual arts curriculum indicator for low SES, which stands a staggering 17% above high SES.

So what’s the conclusion?  The students who benefit most from high exposure to the arts are receiving less of it then they did 10 years prior.  Granted we had the Great Recession and states have to balance their budgets, as a native Californian (and boy, did we get hit hard in 2008) I understand.  That does not mean we are off the hook.  As Secretary Duncan has said time and again, “we’re either going to invest in education or not, it comes down to the values.  Everyone has to step up or we’re going to struggle.” (March 2, 2012)

You made it to graduate school…now what?

You have made a decision, and perhaps a leap of faith, to go to graduate school. You do your research, visit some schools, talk to faculty and current students, apply and get accepted into your dream program. Voila. You are now a student in an arts management program (in my case, at American University in Washington, D.C.)

Now what?

There is no perfect recipe for success that works for everyone but here are a few tips and advices from some brilliant and passionate arts professionals as well as from my personal (well, professional) experience:


You are likely to meet people from various very interesting professional backgrounds in your graduate program. Start with this inner circle. For example, my classmates include a database manager for a non-profit, a development associate at a museum, an orchestra manager, a stage manager, a music teacher, and an actor/ director of a theatre group etc., and they have 0 to over 20 years of experience in the field. Not only you can learn from their experiences and share your own, you can also meet their friends and colleagues and expand your circle.

Another circle that you might not think of immediately is the alumni network of your program. In our case, we not only have an active email listserv of current students and alumni from the program, we also have an active Facebook group that news articles, arts issues, and events etc are posted by current students, alumni and sometimes professors. These alumni have been in your program and made their interests and passions into their careers. Learn from them – from course recommendations to where to eat in town, from job searches to which conferences to go to, they are a wealth of knowledge that you ought to take advantage of, then you can pay it forward to future students when you are out in the real world (again).

Another “inner circle” not to neglect is your program faculty. Schedule meetings with them or take them out for coffee, then learn about their experiences and tell them what you are interested in. You may not wish to teach in graduate school in the future but these professors most likely have connections in the field or were arts managers prior to becoming professors. They can give great advice in where to begin looking and networking as well as make introductions to help you get to where you wish to be.



For some people, going to graduate school requires moving to a new city or even a new country. If that is the case, networking is like killing two birds with one stone. You meet a group of like-minded professionals who most likely understand your pains and gains of working (or the desire to do so) in the arts. They have been there and done that. Introduce yourself to them (do you have an elevator speech yet?) and ask them about how they get to where they are. They are usually happy to share with you their experiences and give advice, and sometimes lend a hand in making introductions and even letting you know about job openings in their institutions.

In Washington D.C., networking opportunities are endless. Emerging Arts Leaders DC(in affliation with Americans for the Arts) and, if you are interested in working in museums, the D.C. Emerging Museum Professionals are two of the many active professional groups in town with multiple events each month. Get involved!

Although there isn’t a school requirement for you to go to an EALDC networking First Friday lunch or a DCEMP happy hour, I suggest you to go whenever you can as these informal conversations often lead you to people and opportunities that you might not have expected.

Feeling a little too shy for impromptu conversations at happy hours? Go to the career development events with less talking and more listening then. I recently attended a DCEMP career development workshop on interview skills – not only I learnt a lot about interviewing, I also got to meet some great people, most of them either looking for their first jobs out of graduate school or those who are looking to transition into a new area in the field.



Are you more of a listener and need a little warming up before you feel like networking? You have got plenty of options as well! Look for conferences, symposiums, webinars and colloquia online and ask around for recommendations. Good places to start looking are websites of Americans for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums, and other graduate programs in your area.

I have attended and volunteered at many of such events and have met so many great people and learnt so much that I cannot possibly explain in one blog entry. Many conferences offer student discounts, scholarships and fellowships so do not let the registration price tag deter you. If all else fails, there is always the option of volunteering for a conference. Trust me, it never hurts to ask, the worst answer you can get is a “no” but you might just met your new friend or mentor from that conversation. You can often volunteer for one day of a conference to be able to register for a discounted price or for free for the rest of the conference. My experiences from these conferences have always been very positive, and I highly recommend volunteering to anyone new to the arts world.

Got a full-time job and a big student loan or simply don’t have time to travel? Again, fret not, there are still many ways to get involved. There are often affordable (or free) webinars, webcasts of panels and conferences, webchats, tweetups and slideshows available for view online. Good places to look are Guidestar, Foundation Center, idealist, National Arts Marketing Project etc, in addition to the websites mentioned above.

The arts management program at American University hosts the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium annually right before Americans for the Arts’ Arts Advocacy Days. This year, the Symposium will be held on Sunday, April 15, 2012. Participants from DC and around the country have always said it’s a great opportunity to meet current leaders in the field (who are usually speakers and panelists) as well as to network with other emerging professionals.  Registration is currently available online here and we sure hope to see you this April!   



If you are ready for some one-on-one time with people in positions you dream to be in, it is time for some informational interviews. For example, if you aspire to be a gallery director, visit galleries and do research on directors and managers of these galleries. Meet them at an open house or send them an email to ask if you can meet them for coffee or in their office to ask a few (well-prepared) questions about their professional experiences.

I recently did an informational interview with a director of a gallery that I would love to work for in the future and it was just a great experience chatting with him and learning about how he got to where he is now. These chats will help you prepare for better-focused job searches and better-prepared interviews. Although I do not see myself being a registrar or collections manager of a museum in the future, I had an informational interview with a collections manager at one of the art museums at the Smithsonian (whom I met at one of the conferences) to better understand the work of her department, as well as how it fits into the greater picture of museum management. And I came out of the meeting having learnt those things and more. In short, keep an open mind and do not let someone’s job title determine your interest – you might learn something you do not expect in each encounter!

Hopefully these tips are helpful to you, my fellow colleagues-in-training. Do share your experiences in networking in the comments below. Good luck with your journey ahead and hope to see you at the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium this April 15!

What Makes a Good Arts Leader?

Michael Wilkerson: Assistant Professor of Arts Management at AU (Moderator)
Ian David Moss: Research Director, Fractured Atlas, and founder of
Jamie Bennett: Director of Public Affairs, NEA
Stephanie Evans Hanson: Local Arts Agency Program Coordinator, Americans for the Arts
Michael Bobbitt: Producing Artistic Director, Adventure Theatre, and President of the League of Washington Theatres


We have all heard of the need for strong leadership in the arts field, especially as we encounter an era in which large numbers of arts managers are beginning to retire, thus leaving control to a new generation of leaders. What exactly is it, however, that makes a good leader? What makes a leader an effective force within his or her organization? What are the forces and issues that the leaders of tomorrow will need to address? How does technology affect leadership? And beyond the organization, how can a leader in the arts be an effective leader within the larger community? More importantly, why is it vital that arts leaders be leaders within their communities?

Find more amazing EALS podcasts HERE

NEA Podcast Series

My name is Raynel Frazier I am a first year Arts Management graduate student at American University and this semester I am very excited because I have the opportunity to continue my internship at the National Endowment for the Arts. One of my favorite things about the NEA is their podcast series hosted by Josephine Reed. The podcast features interviews of people working in the arts (artist, arts managers, etc.). Because I am a jazz trombonist and absolutely love Jazz I greatly enjoyed the podcast she did leading up to the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters Awards Ceremony and Concert; which featured interviews of this years’ class of Jazz Masters as well as previously named Jazz Masters. But whether you love Jazz like me or if your interest is in other arts disciplines the NEA podcast is a great place to visit.

Listening to the NEA podcast has been a great inspiration to me. The information I’ve learned by listening to artist and arts professionals talk about their lives has motivated me to continue to pursue a career in the arts. With Arts Advocacy Day and the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium coming up now is a great time to tune into the NEA podcast and maybe you will be inspired as well.

So, what podcast do you love to listen to? Let me know and I’ll defiantly check them out!

NEA Podcast (click this link to listen to the NEA Podcast online)

Post-APAP NYC Reflection

45 dance companies in 4 days. After some reflection (and catching up on sleep) over the past couple days, I can, without a doubt, say that seeing so much dance in such a short period of time was most definitely the highlight of my APAP|NYC experience. For those who aren’t aware, APAP|NYC is the annual international conference for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, a “national service and advocacy organization dedicated to developing and supporting a robust performing arts presenting field and the professionals who work within it.”

Slew of programs for the showcases I attended

I (Cathy Teixeira) attended the conference with some co-workers from American Dance Institute (ADI), a presenting organization just outside Washington, D.C. One of our main goals for this conference was to get a feel for what companies were out there, both nationally and internationally, see what they were creating, and of course to see if there were any potential companies ADI should look into presenting in the future. If it weren’t for the APAP conference, it would not have been possible to see so much in so short of a time span. I can’t begin to imagine how much work goes into organizing and coordinating showcases, not just for dance but for all disciplines, so I commend APAP for their fine work.

The showcases, usually running from 9:30am to as late as 10pm, took place in various venues across the city. Often times, the agents and/or choreographers would introduce the piece and indicate whether or not the companies were eligible for funding from NEFA’s National Dance Project (NDP). Working in development, I especially appreciated this key

Networking Opportunity-- Post-showcase reception for presenters and artists

piece of information. Presenting can get very expensive, and receiving a bit of support can make all the difference in whether or not an organization can afford to present certain companies. I also noticed that most choreographers would emphasize that fact that their work was flexible (in the number of dancers, staging, size, etc) and customizable based on the financial capacity of the presenter and the confines of the performance space. Again, another important factor when considering the possibility of presenting a company.

One lesson I learned: choreographers are pretty darn clever. Several of them had incorporated a community engagement component to their work. From a fundraising perspective this is wonderful because it makes raising money a lot easier when you are creating a unique experience for the audience/community that goes beyond just sitting in a theater. The most common way to do this is through master classes, post-show talks, or meet-the-artist receptions. But in David Dorfman Dance‘s newest work Come, and Back Again the music of Patti Smith is played by a five-piece band; a band that can tour with the company or alternatively, be comprised of local musicians in the presenter’s location. The music would be sent ahead of time, the company would come, they’d rehearse a couple times, and BAM! put on the show. Genius. I know this isn’t a novel idea, but David is creating opportunities for true community involvement by including this possibility in his work.

David, aside from being one of THE nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, has a knack for involving the audience and making his art truly accessible. ADI presented his wildly successful work Prophets of Funk back in November, and at the end of the show, the audience was invited to come dance with the company on stage. Check out the awesome moment below:

There were so many impressive dance companies, but this blog post would get out of hand if I tried to mention them all so here are just a couple of my personal* favorites:

Lar Lubovitch Dance Company– Lubovitch’s choreography was simply beautiful. I particularly enjoyed their setting of Histoire du Soldat, composed by Stravinsky. The

Lubovitch's Histoire du Soldat

narrative (a soldier sells his violin/soul to the devil and tries to win it back), music, and choreography worked together seamlessly resulting in a cohesive piece.

Keigwin + Company– Keigwin’s work is often described as “sexy” but it’s so much more than that; it’s clever and utterly captivating. In fact, I was so drawn in that I didn’t notice how badly my leg had fallen asleep. They’ll be at the Kennedy Center in March— even if you aren’t a dance person, they are a MUST SEE.

Brian Brooks Moving Company. Photo (c) Christopher Duggan

Brian Brooks Moving Company– The company performed an excerpt of DESCENT, described by the NY times as being “visually arresting”. And it was just that. In the duet, one dancer “manipulated” the other dancer’s falling weight, creating quite an impressive effect.

In addition to all the dance we saw, Jessica (the Development Director of ADI) and I scheduled three consultation meetings: a fundraising consultation with The North Group, Inc. and meetings with the NEA presenting and dance specialists. I didn’t know what to expect in these one-on-one meetings, but they proved to be informative and encouraging. For the fundraising consultation, Jessica gave the consultant a run-down of the current development situation, and then we were given ideas on where we should be prioritizing our efforts. As for the NEA meetings, the presenting and dance specialists were able to tell us what types of grants we were eligible/most appropriate to apply for, and which grant cycle would give us a greater competitive edge. It was great to meet the specialists in person, and to receive positive feedback on what was going on at ADI.

One of the sessions I attended was called What Jazz Can Teach Us About Winning Audiences, where Christy Farnbauch and Bob Breithaupt of Jazz Arts Group presented the results of Jazz Audience Initiatives, their ground-breaking study on jazz audiences. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical about the session being applicable to the dance field, but actually left with a lot of useful information and ideas. They found that 86% of ticket

Taken from the full JAI report.

buyers (ages 18-34) attend because of recommendations from friends and family. As they pointed out, this is intuitive information, but the research just further proves the importance of the initiators (those doing the inviting) in building an audience. It challenged me to consider how we can identify these initiators and what we can do to reward/provide incentives for them to ultimately become active advocates of an organization. For the full report, click here.

If you’ve been reading the wonderful blog posts from my classmate and fellow EALS committee member, Steven Dawson, you’ll find that our experiences at APAP were quite different. (In fact, we only ran into each other once the entire conference!) The great thing is that the APAP Conference is so comprehensive that there’s a rich experience for everyone: across all disciplines, presenter or exhibitor, student or executive. There is so much going on that you can mix and match sessions/meeting/showcases and tailor your schedule to fit your needs. Thank you APAP for a wonderful conference!

-Cathy Teixeira


This is a non-APAP related piece, but something that I thought was worth mentioning, especially for opera lovers. I had Monday night free, so on my bus ride up to New York, I

Obligatory tourist-y photo of Lincoln Center

decided to see if there were any operas at the Met that I could go see. It was a piece of cake to get $25 student tickets (for orchestra seats that are usually $95!) to their new production of Faust. And if you aren’t a student, you can go to the box office two hours before a show and get $20 rush tickets.

*Disclaimer: These are my own personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of American Dance Institute.

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