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How Broadway went bust during the Super Bowl

An influx of tourists apparently doesn’t always mean higher ticket sales for Broadway, one of New York City’s main attractions. 

That’s because while tourists poured into the city last weekend, many were on hand to attend the Super Bowl. Other potential audience members opted to go to a Super Bowl party, or sit at home and watch the game on TV. The event attracted a record audience of 111.5 million viewers

The week ending Sunday brought in $16.7 million in Broadway ticket sales, according to data tracked by The Broadway League. That's down from $19.1 million the previous week. But before fans start belting out torch songs, it’s important to remember that the Great White Way is actually humming along these days. The 2012-13 season grossed $1.14 billion in ticket sales, on par with the previous season’s record.

For savvy ticket buyers, Super Bowl weekend offered a wealth of Broadway ticket deals, with some of the hottest shows selling at a discount. “The Book of Mormon,” for instance, was selling for an average price of $243 per ticket, a discount of 27 percent from the rest of the year, Forbes noted. 

Still, even those discounted tickets represent a hefty fee, given that buying four tickets would set a family back by almost $1,000.

Broadway shows across the board have been charging more for seats. The average per-ticket price reached $98.42 for the 2012-2013 season, a jump of 27 percent in just four years, according to The Broadway League. 

What’s behind the rise in ticket prices? Broadway productions are often limited-engagement shows featuring high-profile stars, such as “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston, who will make his Broadway debut in “All the Way" next month. Tickets are going for $70 to almost $270, according to a box office site. 

For fans of live theater, the lesson may be to hunt for tickets the next time a rival large event comes to the New York City area, or else resign yourself to searching discount sites or paying full price.

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