Show tickets cost less … sort of

How much does it cost on average to see a Las Vegas show? Every year I add up the numbers and do that calculation for the April issue of the Las Vegas Advisor, and almost every year the average goes up. But this year is an exception: the average price is “just” $75.44 down $1.02. That’s good, right? At first I assumed it was. But after looking deeper, I now think, as they say, not so much.

The explanation is in an analysis of the year-to-year price changes of specific shows. Take Cirque, for example. Compared with this time last year, there’s been an $18.36 increase for O, a $14.07 increase for The Beatles Love, a $7.50 increase for Mystère, and even Criss Angel Believe has gone up $5.85 (though the soon-to-close Viva Elvis is $13.57 less). And it’s more of the same for other productions that were here last year. Of 74 such shows, 39 have gone up in price, while only 10 have gone down and 25 have remained unchanged (within $1).

So, why did the overall average go down (if only by a scant 1.3 percent)? As you’ve probably guessed, it’s because of the new shows that now come and go with regularity in several smaller venues. Ticket prices in places like the Clarion, Royal House and the Rio’s Crown Theater tend to be well below those of the established productions, and that pulls down the overall average. But the lower average ticket price probably doesn’t translate to a better deal for most prospective showgoers, who tend to want to see one of the bigger-name options.

Of course, as a local you’d have to be living under a rock for that $73.80 number to apply to you. Locals can take advantage of the many discount avenues to show-ticket buying that include the half-price ticket outlets on the Strip,,, the great “All Stage Pass” from Caesars Entertainment, and even free publications where in any given week you’ll find a dozen or so applicable discount coupons.

More important, locals have time and grade on their side. Because we live here, we have time to wait for the best shows to run a special, or appeal to us directly. That’s where the grade comes in—the best offers I’ve seen from Cirque and Blue Man and the like are targeted specifically to locals. So, wait long enough, and you’ll easily beat the average.

If you don’t feel like waiting for, or searching out, the deal, just head over to the Four Queens to catch the Afternoon Comedy Magic Show. For the second consecutive year, it has the lowest price in town for any show playing more than one day per week. Go ahead and pay that $17.45 retail—you’re still way under the cap.