The New York Times revealed the fee in a May 22 story that underscored the irony of the new fee (which began quietly in November 2008) and the League's recent fight against New York State's proposed tax on Broadway admissions. State legislators ultimately chose not to put a tax on Broadway admissions.
The new "League Fee," according to the Times, is for shows produced by League members only. Dance, Off-Broadway and other performances offered at TKTS booths are not affected. League shows include major brand-name Broadway plays and musicals.
About $1 million a year is expected to be raised through the fee. League leaders told the Times that the money raised will go to the general fund to pay for marketing and education programs.
Neither the League nor the not-for-profit Theatre Development Fund, which operates three TKTS booths in New York City, had previously made the fee known in a public announcement, although discounted TKTS tickets are marked with the words "$1.00 Bway League Fee."
"It's not ideal, I know, but the fee helps pay for things that have added value for theatregoers," League executive director Charlotte St. Martin told the Times. The fee will reportedly support theatre education, children's programs and an online presence for the League. St. Martin told the Times that League producers and theatre owners pay about ten percent more in dues than they did last year.
About one million tickets for League shows were sold between June 2007 and July 2008, suggesting that about $1 million a year could flow into the League coffers.
Victoria Bailey, executive director of TDF, told the Times, "Our customers care most about the show, its location and price. So anything that raises costs is a concern."
TDF had no say in the decision. In theory, those who are seeking discount tickets can least afford the added fee. No such League fee has been added to full-price admissions available through box offices and telephone orders.
Each Broadway League-affiliated ticket sold for up to 50 percent off of the face value at TKTS booths include a $4 TKTS service fee; $1.50 facility fee for theatre upkeep; and the $1 League Fee. Disney and Roundabout Theatre Company are not in the Broadway League, so the fee does not apply to Disney or Roundabout shows that may be sold at the booths.