The figure is just below the $4.99 billion that the League recorded as being Broadway's contribution to the Gotham economy during the 2000-01 season, just before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, temporarily decimated the city's financial health.
The most recent League study, which looked at the 2002-03 season, put the number at $4.62 billion. The new figure is adjusted for inflation.
The total 2004-05 dollar number can be broken down into three categories: visitor spending; show expenses; and theatre expenses. The first of these—money spent on hotels, restaurants and shopping by people who visit New York specifically to take in Broadway shows—was up nine percent from $2.79 billion in 2002-2003 to $3.06 billion last season. Direct spending on hotels saw the biggest increase, according to the League. It leaped 29 percent from $436.2 million in 2002-2003 to $562.7 million in 2004-2005.
"Show expenses" includes monies that are spent to produce and run Broadway shows. These totaled $1.7 billion in the 2004-2005 season. Fully 39 new productions were mounted during the 2004-2005 season. To get these up, producers spent an all-time high of $165.2 million, a 23 percent increase from the $134.5 million spent in 2002-03. The number of playing weeks (total number of weeks all shows played), meanwhile, was 1,494, slightly lower that 2002-03's 1,544, but still the second highest in recorded history.
"Theatre expenses," the dollars dispenses to maintain and renovated Broadway theatres, topped $17.6 million. The study, called "Broadway's Economic Contribution to New York City" is published biennially by The League of American Theatres and Producers. Printed versions of the reports are available for purchase online at http://www.livebroadway.com/research.html.