Each year, in the April issue of the Las Vegas Advisor, we calculate the average cost of a ticket to a Las Vegas production show. This year, we considered 94 shows. Over the first 22 years of the survey, the average price increased 17 times. This year made it 18, with a $2.64 increase that set the average cost of a ticket at $82.86.
No surprise there. But the reason for this year’s increase is distinctly different from last. Whereas it’s always been the biggest shows instituting year-to-year hikes that push up the average, this year the middle-market shows are to blame.
MJ Live at the Rio is up $7, Divas at the Quad is up $9, Crazy Girls at the Riv is up $10, Matt Goss at Caesars is up $11, Country Superstars at the V Theater is up $20, and the revamped Jubilee! at Bally’s is up $40—jumping from $68.78 last year to $108.36. Plus, new shows are coming on line with higher opening prices. For example, Zombie Burlesque at the V debuted with an $84.68 average ticket and Divorce Party at Bally’s opened at $87.54, both above the overall average.
Unchanged from last year are Celine, David Copperfield, Donny & Marie, Human Nature, Jersey Boys, Kà, Le Rêve, The Beatles Love, Million Dollar Quartet, Mystère, Penn & Teller, Terry Fator, Zarkana and Zumanity. That’s a bunch of big shows holding the line. Blue Man Group at Venetian actually went down $5. Nice.
Does that mean that the deal on shows is now on the high end? Not really. Since the “B-level” productions inflate to discount, you’re looking at the true impact of higher prices being only about half of the increases, assuming you’re taking advantage of all the available methods to avoid paying rack rates, including magazine coupons, discount codes, the half-price ticket outlets and the many deals that pop up for locals all the time. But the fact that the prices of the “A” shows aren’t rising also means that more of the good ones will discount, even if selectively.
That’s a subject for another column, but suffice to say that Cirque and Blue Man are already offering locals base rates in the $50-$60 range, and locals need only show ID at the LVH box office to get a twofer for Raiding the Rock Vault.
If you want down-and-dirty cheap, eight shows in the survey came in with prices after taxes and fees of less than $40. They are Mike Hammer Comedy Magic (Four Queens); Laughternoon (The D); Party Improv (Cabo Wabo); Gordie Brown (Golden Nugget); Forever Do Wop, Forever Motown and Rivera Comedy Club at the Riv; and, lowest of all, Kento’s Asian Invasion (Clarion, Friday only) for $12.95. Search out a twofer for these shows and you’re looking at well under $20 per person. That’s definitely a deal!
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and LasVegasAdvisor.com.