Super Bowl fails to be a boom for Broadway, with grosses and attendance lower

The Associated Press

Fans gather on the Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, in New York. The Seattle Seahawks will play the Denver Broncos on Sunday in NFL football's Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

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By MARK KENNEDY, AP Drama Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Super Bowl week turned into mostly a super bust for Broadway.

Data from The Broadway League shows box office grosses declined $2.4 million and ticket buyers fell by more than 15,000 for the week ending Sunday, despite the influx of thousands of tourists descending on the New York City area for the big game.

The week ending Sunday brought in $16,714,694 and 183,092 in attendance, the League said Monday. The week before, the League reported a haul of $19,122,428 for its 26 shows, with 198,773 in attendance.

Most shows took a hit in both revenue and ticket buyers, and even the stalwarts on Broadway fell: "Wicked" tumbled $195,674 from the previous week, and "The Lion King" lost $315,444. Both each lost more than 1,000 patrons over the week, too.

One bright spot was the Mark Rylance-led Shakespeare's Globe productions of "Twelfth Night" and "Richard III," which grossed $907,000, a new one-week record for the Belasco Theatre. "The Book of Mormon" also barely wobbled, down only $18,550 to end the week as Broadway's highest earner with $1,641,717.

Broadway producers last week tried to grab the attention of football fans crowding Times Square with a two-for-one ticket promotion and outdoor performances on a makeshift stage on Broadway of such shows as "Pippin," ''Newsies," ''Motown the Musical," ''Rocky," ''Mamma Mia!" and "Chicago." The casts of "Jersey Boys" and "Rock of Ages" played outside MetLife Stadium in the hours before the game.

Many Broadway shows altered their show schedules to take advantage of the crowds, but the League complained that people may have been under the impression that shows were shuttered.

Three current and former NFL stars — Randall Cobb, Joique Bell and Ahman Green — even made their Broadway stage debuts in small parts in "Rock of Ages" last week. But for all that, the show's box office lost $61,660 over the previous week's haul, to a total of $289,178 over eight performances.

Even a rare show about sports — "Bronx Bombers" about the New York Yankees — failed to be a home run with so many tourists in town for the big game. The show fell $20,085 from the week before to pull in only $137,015.

The overall Broadway numbers are closer to the same period last year — a week that earned $16,564,311 with attendance at 180,859 — but with only 22 shows. Producers will be glad to say goodbye to traditionally slow January and welcome February.

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Mark Kennedy can be reached at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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