The symphony announced its financial results for the 2005-2006 season at its annual meeting at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts yesterday.
Total revenue grew to $14.7 million in fiscal 2006 from $14 million the previous year, according to a statement. MSO president Mark Hanson said the symphony expects to meet a three-year financial recovery plan that aims to balance the budget; he expects the orchestra to end this season with an $11,000 surplus.
The number of subscription seats sold increased 9% percent in the 2005-06 season; the total number of subscribers grew 7%, marking the first growth since the 1999-2000 season.
Average attendance at MSO concerts increased to 76% last season, compared with 66% the year before. Revenue from ticket sales declined, however, as there were 16 fewer performances.
The symphony also reported an increase in contributed revenue, with donations to the MSO's annual fund up by $1.2 million.
The MSO credits a new marketing strategy for these successes. It has reduced the number of concerts downtown in Uihlein Hall, emphasized single-ticket sales and scheduled many more community concerts in the suburbs, city neighborhoods and around Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The paper quotes Hansen as saying, "As we approach capacity, it becomes easier to sell subscription. People don't want to be left out in the cold. And I don't think it's a coincidence that the year after we play all those community concerts, we show the first increase in subscriptions in seven years and set a new record in our annual fund drive."