The University of Washington’s Foster School of Business came to Burien to take a look at BAT’s economic impact on Burien.
BAT produces four MainStage shows a year. The audiences for these performances came from Burien and the region, including a few from Vancouver, Canada. Many of BAT’s audience spend money in Burien. Not everyone, of course, but enough people that their spending makes a difference to the City of Burien. Plus BAT spends money in Burien.
Theater is great entertainment. It is also a business, and theater helps the community it is located in grow.
The Foster School of Business came to see how BAT’s audience compared to the national average. The top line of the Foster School of Business’ report is that BAT brings an additional $141,000 into the City of Burien. (Not bad, for just four productions a year.) Each BAT participant spends an average of $22.27 per production, which is very close to the National average.
Looking back at BAT’s tax and other records, for the years 2013-16, the Foster School of Business found BAT averaged 777 audience members per production. Adding the cast and crew, BAT brings about 3,109 people to Burien per year. Over those same years, approximately 1,500 of the audience members filled out questionnaires which asked if they ate before, the show or planned to eat right afterward. (This is a large enough sample to be statistically significant.)
The surveys showed that 57% of BAT’s audience members ate before or after the show. Of those who ate before of after the show, 94% ate at a restaurant in Burien. (BAT has recently added a list of the restaurants in Burien (156) to BAT’s website to make finding just the right place to eat that much easier.
Foster then looked at where these audience members came from. Most were from outside Burien. Surveys show that 31% of BAT’s audience comes from Burien. That means 69% of BAT’s audience comes from outside Burien. The numbers of audience members from outside of Burien was confirmed by comparing BAT’s online ticket sales, which showed that just 22% of online ticket sales came from Burien.
As set out in figures 7 and 9 in the Foster report HERE, Seattle, the Eastside, and neighboring cities make up the bulk of BAT’s audiences. But, significant numbers travel quite some distance to see a show at BAT.
Audience members who come from outside Burien are more likely to eat at a restaurant in Burien. These are customers to the restaurant who would not likely eat there, but for coming to see a show at BAT.
Foster then looked at what the cast and crew spent in Burien. First, what the cast spent during the six-week rehearsal period, and then on Friday and Saturday nights when the cast a crew went out to a bar to eat and unwind after the show. (For the years 2013-16 BAT’s cast and crew most often headed to BAT’s prime sponsor, The Mark Restaurant and Bar. The Mark has since been replaced.)
The conclusion of the Foster study is that BAT adds $141,000 a year to Burien, all because BAT produces better live theater in Burien.
Then, Foster looked at some of the intangibles that live theater brings to Burien. BAT has relationships with a number of Burien businesses, all of which benefit from the audience who attend BAT’s performances. By coming from outside Burien to a show at BAT, the audience gets to know the City of Burien.
BAT knows of at least two of its audience members who moved from Seattle into Burien, a place they visited only because of BAT.
The Foster report ends with, “The cultural value of BAT is difficult to quantify. However, after conversing with numerous businesses that interact with BAT, we can conclude with confidence that BAT’s contributions to Burien extend far beyond its economic value.”
You can help BAT as it helps Burien: Come to a show, check out BAT’s current season; donate, if you can . (BAT is a 501(c)(3) entity, a non-profit, so your donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.)
Seeing a show at BAT is a win-win. You get better live theater, and you help Burien thrive and grow. Hope to see you at a show!