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“Funflation” is on the Rise!


Join me for an end of the year planning session for 2024

The Wall Street Journal told me it is getting too expensive to have fun and I wanted to look at some of the numbers involved. 


Because a lot of times numbers can be manipulated to tell you what you want to hear. 

Let’s look at some of the numbers that stuck out to me and give them some context.

60% of American consumers cut back on live entertainment spending: 

26% of American consumers don’t spend anything on live entertainment. 

  • This is up from 16% before COVID. 
  • This tracks with British consumers cutting back on nights out for in-home events due to the cost of living crisis that continues in the UK. 
  • In China, it is tougher to get numbers on live entertainment because they consumer entertainment differently, but we are even seeing Chinese consumers pick the option of “whichever one is cheaper.”

Estimates point to Americans spending $95B on entertainment tickets including movies, spectator amusements, and live entertainment. 

  • Up 23% from 2022. 
  • Up 12.5% from $84.4B in 2019.
  • Growth is the name of the game around the world with the Irish entertainment market projected to hit €6.14 by 2026. That comes to an annual growth rate of just over 4.5%. 

Attractions are growing as well:

Average concert ticket costs jump to $120.11:

10% fewer credit card customers are spending money on live events:

  • This means less people are buying tickets despite the claims of more tickets sold at higher rates. How do we make sense of that?
  • Speculation and sneaker heads have jumped into the secondary market even heavier than before.
  • Like I told a CEO recently, the ticket market is “strange”. 

What Does This Mean to You?

1. The number of people not spending on live entertainment is growing and there isn’t just one root cause, but 3:

  • Lack of Awareness
  • Costs
  • Competition

You have to know which one is most impacting your organization and adjust. 

2. Are the crazy growth numbers real?

  • Prices are rising. That’s evident from the numbers. 
  • Tickets sold vs. tickets distributed is always a number that can be gamed. 
  • A number I like to look at is “scan rate”. At one point in the return to crowds period, we were seeing scan rates consistently below 40% in a lot of places. 

A formula I use to put the numbers in context, fill rate:

Scan Rate * Sell through rate. 

As an example, your sell rate is 75% and your scan rate is 50%.

75% * 50% = 37.5% 

Meaning only 38% of your seats are full. 

There’s financial costs and brand costs with all of these empty seats. 

Are fans buying your tickets and not coming


Are your tickets targets of speculation

What are you going to do about it?

Do you have a secondary market partner and they aren’t able to sell your tickets using the tools available on the secondary market?

What are y’all going to do so that your tickets aren’t just sitting on the platforms, collecting dust, destroying your brand? 

3. Have you been riding a wave of generic growth

Meaning: have you just been doing better or well because the economy was doing well and recovering? 

Or, are you in control of the market around you? 

How are you managing the new realities of the ticket markets? 

Do you have a plan for growing or sustaining your ticket sales now? 

Thank you for making it this far. Can you share this note with one person that is trying to make sense of the current economic numbers to build a path towards continued ticket sales growth?

Share Talking Tickets! 

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Do you have a question about ticket sales in an uncertain economic environment? 

Let me know. 

I’ll work some of the best into a future issue of the newsletter or the podcast.