Another year, another show ticket survey, another increase in prices. Every year in the April issue of the Las Vegas Advisor, we calculate the current average cost of a ticket to see a Las Vegas production show. This year, 94 shows were considered. As is almost always the case—21 times in 25 years—the average went up, and for the first time, surpassed the $90 mark (the $90.18 ticket average is a $4.98 increase over a year ago).
The most expensive single ticket in the survey was $1,040.91 for the top (VIP) ticket to Britney—A Piece of Me. What may be even more amazing is that the Planet Hollywood box office listed 37 different ticket prices for Britney. More than half the shows (53) have at least one ticket option above $100. Further, 17 have a highest price of $200 or more, six have a ticket over $300, Britney has a $400 option, Elton has one for $500 and then it’s Britney again with prices all over the map up to that $1,000. Lordy!
It’s a daunting prospect for those who like to catch a production show now and again. Or is it? In reality, what you see isn’t necessarily what you get. There are two factors in particular that are pushing up the averages, and there’s a money-saving response to each.
First, there’s so much discounting in play that retail prices have to be constantly inflated to accommodate. That’s been the way for a while now, but it’s accelerating. The response? Now more than ever, you have to take advantage of the available discount options. You should never buy a ticket without first checking half-price ticket outlets, online discounters such as Goldstar.com and discount-code sources. Many producers continue to offer periodic deals for locals, so read the newspapers and magazines. And since the numbers for the survey come from ticket-range averages, you can always do better by buying at the low end of the ticket-tier scale.
Second, prices for the star-fueled residency shows are going into orbit. If you’re looking for the deal, it usually means staying away from the big names and going with the lower-priced alternatives. For the second year in a row, Las Vegas’ lowest-priced retail ticket is Mike Hammer Comedy Magic at Four Queens at $27.80 after taxes. Also under $40 are Spirit of the King at Four Queens, Laughternoon at The D, Gordie Brown at the Golden Nugget, Frank Marino’s Divas at the Linq, L.A. Comedy Club at Stratosphere and Twisted Vegas at the Westgate. And don’t forget the best show deal in town, the $9.95 ticket to Mac King’s Comedy Magic that you can pick up at Harrah’s the day of the show (try the players club booth).
You can still see a good show at a fair price in Vegas. You just have to work a little harder to do it.
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and LasVegasAdvisor.com.