Eric Nelson
Eric Nelson Vice President, Global Partnerships

TRG Arts and The League of American Orchestras

Arts & Culture Benchmark: Orchestra Data Update

September 12, 2023

Webinar Summary: Insights for Action

The Arts & Culture Benchmark offers Performing Arts Organizations a dynamic tool for real-time analysis of ticket sales and donations. It goes beyond the horizon of historical data, comparing current performance to similar organizations within the Benchmark. This invaluable data empowers organizations to craft more strategic and engaging customer outreach plans.

A Collaborative Endeavor: TRG Arts and The League of American Orchestras

TRG Arts and The League of American Orchestras have joined forces to encourage orchestras to participate in the Benchmark. Through this partnership, TRG and The League share insights from The Benchmark. This analysis includes ticket sales, revenues, donations, and patron demographics. Presently, over 40 orchestras are active members of the Benchmark, enjoying the benefits of real-time access to interactive dashboards, offering a comprehensive view of the latest patron trends.

Sharing Insights Through Webinars and Reports

The partnership between TRG and The League unfolds through regular reports and webinars, sharing insights to help inform the orchestral community. This post summarizes the most recent report, which was unveiled during a webinar on Tuesday, September 12, 2023.

A Glimpse Into the Report: Highlights

The report’s core focus revolves around the comparison of the first six months of 2023 to the same period in 2019 for these 40+ orchestras. Furthermore, it sheds light on ticket sales and donation results for the entire year 2022 in comparison to 2019. Demographic data, sourced from the U.S. Census and facilitated through TRG Arts’ partnership with Acxiom, enriches this report, employing Acxiom’s classification labels.

Key Insights from the Report

The following is a snapshot of aggregated patron behavior trends from the report, understanding that each orchestra has its unique narrative to unfold:

  1. Recovery in Ticket Revenue: While rising expenses pose challenges for orchestras, ticket revenue has now rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. After a gradual recovery since 2021, orchestra ticket revenue in Jan-June 2023 exceeded that of Jan-June 2019 by 1%.

  2. Increased Spending per Ticket: Although fewer tickets were sold overall, ticket buyers spent more on average per ticket.

  3. Fresh Audience Opportunities: New audience members now constitute 62% of orchestra ticket buyers, compared to 50% in 2019. This presents an opportunity for orchestras to foster loyalty within both new and returning patrons.

  4. Changing Audience Dynamics: The proportion of tickets purchased by younger patrons, as well as those with lower incomes and educational attainment, increased due to the trend towards single ticket purchases. However, older ticket buyers are leaving at a faster rate, resulting in a net loss.

  5. Diversity and Inclusion: The proportion of tickets sold to Asian and Hispanic audience members saw a slight increase in 2022 compared to 2019, but the proportion of tickets sold to Black audience members remained stagnant.

  6. Donation Insights: Individual donation revenue dipped by 4% between 2019 and 2023, and the demographic diversity of individual donors has remained unchanged. Yet, orchestras are witnessing increased support with more individuals making donations in 2023 compared to 2019, albeit at lower levels.

Join the Arts & Culture Benchmark

For those inspired by these insights, we invite you to join the Arts & Culture Benchmark community.

If you have any questions about this report or The Benchmark please contact Eric Nelson, TRG’s Vice President, Global Partnerships at