Anatomy of a ticket

After you pay, where does your money go? Here's a look at the costs.

The New York Yankees



Also see:  The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art  |  Figurines @ Mercury Lounge  |  The Nutcracker @ New York City Ballet  |  La Traviata @ The Metropolitan Opera  |  Jump @ Union Square Theatre

According to Princeton economist and Baseball and Billions author Andrew Zimbalist, a typical baseball team’s payroll soaks up about 55% of its revenue—and he estimates that number creeps up for the Yankees roster, to over 60%. (Player expenses—salaries, benefits and bonuses—topped $219 million in 2006.) The Yankees’ revenue was in excess of $300 million in 2006. Of their major overhead costs, they spent:

60% on player salaries
21% on MLB revenue-sharing fees
7% on luxury taxes
6% on stadium operations
6% on travel and player training



Fun fact: The average fan spends $12 on concessions; according to Zimbalist, about 40% of that revenue goes to the team.

Sources: MLB team valuations, Forbes magazine; Andrew Zimbalist, economist at Princeton University; Craig Depken, economist at UNC Charlotte. Estimated percentage breakdown based on major overhead costs categories.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art



Also see:  The New York Yankees  |  Figurines @ Mercury Lounge  |  The Nutcracker @ New York City Ballet  |  La Traviata @ The Metropolitan Opera  |  Jump @ Union Square Theatre

Let’s say you give the full suggested donation of $20. You do-gooder, you. Of its total 2006 operating expenses of $183.3 million, the museum spent:

29% on curatorial expenses
17% on maintaining the building (lots of humidifiers?)
15% on guardianship
12% on administrative costs
7% on membership and development
7% on education and libraries
7% on heat, light and power, and interest
6% on funding special exhibitions



Fun fact: Admission fees account for 12% of the museum’s total revenues. The museum’s largest source of revenue is endowments, clocking in at 30%. A close second are gifts and grants, at 26%.

Source: Annual report, 2006

Figurines @ Mercury Lounge



Also see:  The New York Yankees  |  The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art  |  The Nutcracker @ New York City Ballet  |  La Traviata @ The Metropolitan Opera  |  Jump @ Union Square Theatre

The hot Danish band charges $12 a ticket for this Wednesday’s show, and we checked in with its manager and agent to find out where it all goes. (Surprisingly, not all to booze and strippers.)

65% of the ticket revenue goes to the band, so $7.80 per ticket goes to pay for:
• The talent (duh!)
• U.S. work visas (approximately $3,000)
• The RV ($10,000 for where they sleep. Go to the show! These guys need a hotel!)
• Plane tickets (approximately $7,000)
• The tour manager/baby-sitter
10% to the promoter ($1.20)
25% to the venue ($3), and from that, it pays the sound guy, the security guards and the hand-stamper chick at the front door



Source: Booking agent Kevin French at Bigshot Touring, Tag Team Media

The Nutcracker @ New York City Ballet



Also see:  The New York Yankees  |  The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art  |  Figurines @ Mercury Lounge  |  La Traviata @ The Metropolitan Opera  |  Jump @ Union Square Theatre

You’re taking yourself to the ballet. (Because no one wants to go with you. Sad.) You shell out $86 for a seat at The Nutcracker. How much goes to salaries, scenery and toe shoes? Ticket sales account for only about 45% of the ballet’s revenues. Of its total costs of $54.04 million, the ballet spends:

50.7% on paying the dancers and the support staff
15.7% pays for their medical benefits (those toes get pretty nasty)
10.3% combined on other fees, miscellaneous costs and depreciation
7.6% on professional fees
7.2% on printing (hug a tree, ballet peeps. That’s a lot of ink ’n’ paper)
3.5% on scenery, music and costumes (like giant mouse heads)
2.7% on travel
1.3% on occupancy costs (maintenance, electricity, etc.)
0.86% on front-office expenses



Source: New York City Ballet Annual Report 2006

La Traviata The Metropolitan Opera



Also see:  The New York Yankees  |  The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art  |  Figurines @ Mercury Lounge  |  The Nutcracker @ New York City Ballet  |  Jump @ Union Square Theatre

On its last reported results, the annual statement for 2004–05, the Met’s average ticket price was $107. Ticket sales account for only 39.6% of the opera’s revenues. Of its total expenses:

32.2% went to performers’ fees
20.3% was eaten up by employee benefits, like medical and dental plans (lots of tonsil specialists, we reckon)
18.3% went to the people who make sure those performers don’t get hit by a piece of falling scenery: the stage support folks
8.9% went to fund staff and building salaries
8% went to “other” costs—we’re guessing lots of helmets with horns
3.9% went to advertising and promotion, and communications
3.3% went to professional and presentation fees
3.1% took care of annual maintenance costs: electricity, cleaning and other costs related to the house
2% paid for the travel expenses for artists and conductors



Source: The Metropolitan Opera Annual Report 2004–05

Jump @ Union Square Theatre



Also see:  The New York Yankees  |  The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art  |  Figurines @ Mercury Lounge  |  The Nutcracker @ New York City Ballet  |  La Traviata @ The Metropolitan Opera

Let’s say you buy a $65 seat for a martial-arts extravaganza. (Watch out for flying people.)

From 63%, $40.95, the production has to pay:
• the performers and support staff
• additional royalties and artists’ fees
• the director, choreographer and lighting designer
• marketing expenses
• theater rental
Producers take 25% of that, $16.25, to pay back investors (and themselves).
About another 12%, $7.80, goes to pay royalties to the owner of the show’s book.



Fun fact: Jump cost in excess of $1.5 million to produce. That means producers need to sell out at least four shows every week of its run to start making back money.

Source: Mark Maluso, producer