Hitting the billion-dollar milestone is partly a result of the way the League now reports earnings: In 2009 the League began reporting "gross gross" rather than the lower "net gross." Net gross reflects the weekly gross with fees or commissions from group sales, pension funds and credit cards subtracted. The "gross gross" report does not show such subtractions, and therefore reflects bigger numbers than in the past.
The net gross in 2008 was $941 million; a 2008 "gross gross" figure was not available. The rounded $1 billion "gross gross" figure of 2009 was released the first week in January; the precise number is $1,001,765,646.
Attendance in 2009 was 11.95 million (a "total attendance" figure which reflects complimentary tickets) compared to 12.32 million (a "paid attendance" number that does not include comps) in 2008. (The system of reporting attendance was also changed in 2009.)
The total playing weeks in 2009 were 1,440 compared to 2008's 1,653, a drop of 213 weeks.
Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League, said in a statement, "Broadway did well even during a recessionary year. Beginning with the 2009-2010 season, there was a change in our reporting system to gross gross and paid attendance, so it is difficult to compare calendar year over calendar year. We can assume ticket sales are about flat, but cannot officially confirm. We do not like to speculate; however, the 2009 calendar year probably didn't break any records since last year was Broadway's biggest year in history. Hitting the billion dollar mark is quite impressive and we're looking forward to an exciting roster of shows this spring." Variety reported that Wicked was the top earner in 2009, grossing about $78.3 million. Billy Elliot was No. 2 with $66.2 million.
To see the League's recently released Broadway Calendar-Year Statistics, click here.