The Cleveland Orchestra's 2012-13 Severance Hall season ticket sales revenue is on track to set a new all-time record, driven by the best-ever ticket sales in November and December.
The value of tickets sold for the Orchestra's performances in November and December totaled $2.8 million, an increase of 62% over the same time last year. Holiday Festival ticket sales increased to an all-time record of $1,177,271, 16% over the previous record of $1,013,000 in 2007. The Orchestra's November and December schedule featured a wide range of programs, including Classical, Celebrity, KeyBank Fridays@7 concerts, and Charlie Chaplin's film Modern Times, with live accompaniment. The Holiday Festival included traditional Christmas Concerts along with performances of The Nutcracker and two concerts featuring Pink Martini.
Sales for the 2012-13 Severance Hall season, which runs from September through May, are already 24% ahead of last year at the same time. Current season ticket sales revenue is on track to achieve an all-time record of $7.6 million, surpassing the previous record set in 2000-01, and $1.3 million more than last season.
A total of 47,531 people purchased tickets to 26 Cleveland Orchestra concerts in November and December. This was an increase of 28% in attendance and a 9% growth in the number of new patrons at Severance Hall, compared to attendance at 25 concerts during the same time period in 2011. Over the two-month period in 2012, venues reached an average of 92% capacity at the 26 performances. Five sold-out performances of The Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker with The Cleveland Orchestra, presented at PlayhouseSquare, were attended by 15,234 people. A surge of student attendees, combined with the diversity of programming and focus on social media, led to the growth. The focus on social media has resulted in considerable growth in sales online, contributing to the overall revenue increase. The Orchestra has increased its social media presence by 300% in the past 6 months. More than 33,000 people from around the world follow the Orchestra on Facebook and Twitter.
"Northeast Ohioans are clearly responding to the Orchestra's strategic innovations. More people are attending a wider variety of our programs, and the significant increase in the number of new patrons at Severance Hall is extraordinary," said Cleveland Orchestra Executive Director Gary Hanson. "Our commitment to student attendance and a younger audience is part of a Cleveland Orchestra renaissance, as we commit to being evermore relevant to our hometown and evermore devoted to community service."
The number of students attending Cleveland Orchestra concerts at Severance Hall has more than doubled over the same period last year. This season, more than 200 students, on average, are attending every evening subscription concert - at some concerts, students have represented 20% of the audience.
New initiatives and promotions are attracting more students to Cleveland Orchestra concerts. The Student Frequent FanCard gives students flexibility and encourages frequency of attendance, and the Under 18s Free ticket program, launched at the 2011 Blossom Festival, expanded this season to Severance Hall. A network of a dozen student ambassadors, representing five area colleges, volunteer their time promoting student concert-going and help to create a vital social media presence around The Cleveland Orchestra.