Subscribe via Email
Enter your email address to subscribe to Butts In The Seats and receive notifications of new posts by email.
So it appears Howard Sherman gets first mention a second day in a row on my blog (not that he doesn’t deserve it). He called attention to the fact the production The Lion King on Broadway was not only offering free refunds and exchanges on ticket purchases, but Disney would be picking up the dreaded Ticketmaster service fees. Apparently Disney is doing the same for Aladdin through August 7, 2022
Positive steps from Disney, as seen on The Lion King website. pic.twitter.com/JZQLYYVtt0
— Howard Sherman (@HESherman) May 11, 2021
I actually went online to price tickets to see what they were charging and at the end of September I found third row orchestra seats for The Lion King at $125 which didn’t seem too bad. Though I don’t know what they were selling for in February 2020.
I was so amazed at this, I wondered to my co-workers if this might not turn into an industry trend that the public came to expect. I hadn’t thought to check if other shows were doing the same thing until I saw a tweet by journalist/critic Jonathan Mandell linking to the refund/exchange policy which applies to all Broadway theaters owned by the Nederlander Organization., including the Minskoff Theatre where Lion King is showing. I didn’t see any expiration date on this offer.
The Shubert Organization which owns the Telecharge ticketing service as well as some Broadway houses is offering free refunds and exchanges through January 17, 2022.
I didn’t see anything about refunds and exchanges on the Jujamcyn Theaters website, the company that owns a number of other Broadway Theaters. But it should be noted they also didn’t have tickets for any of their shows on sale either.
Getting back to the question of whether waiving ticket service fees might become a thing, this is something my staff and I have been discussing for a few years now. (Truth be told, the staffs of different theaters at which I have worked have been talking about it for about 10-15 years now.)
We have been trending toward including the fees in the advertised price of the tickets, however many of those who rent our venue have wanted it added on top at check out. Because it is different from the usual experience it occasionally elicits a “hey wait a minute…” response from some of our more frequent attendees.
You have to wonder if people come to see this as a normal experience based on their Broadway experience, will there be pressure to continue the practice indefinitely?
Of course, this doesn’t even mention the free, no questions asked exchange policy. There are restrictions as to number of times you can request an exchange and people who buy tickets from resale market or 3rd parties are probably going to have issues if their name and contact information aren’t associated with the tickets. But expectations may shift in toward hassle-free refunds, especially if the threat of Covid continues to loom in the background generally for some years to come.