San Francisco Opera Makes Free Simulcasts Pay Off

Last month, the simulcast of a live San Francisco Opera “Aida” performance reached some 32,000 Bay-area audience members. That’s an impressive fact in and of itself. What’s even more noteworthy: by holding such events (free for attendees) at a gated venue (AT&T Park), and encouraging audience members to make reservations online in advance (giving them early admission to the ballpark), the SFO is able to capture audience contact information (simulcasts held in the past in public plazas did not) and link subsequent activity (ticket purchases, donations) to it.

The Wall Street Journal says:

“Using that data, the opera says it has been able to figure out that new-patron tickets linked to the simulcasts have brought in about $880,000. That puts the opera – which says it has spent about $800,000 on its four previous simulcasts – slightly in the black with its simulcast endeavors.”

"At least one other opera company has followed the San Francisco Opera in holding ballpark simulcasts. In 2008, the Washington National Opera moved its simulcast from the National Mall to the brand new Nationals Park – home of the Washington Nationals – in an effort to get people to sign up and secure better customer-tracking data.”

Trend likelihood: high (assuming organizations’ live-production/broadcast logistics aren’t overly complicated).

Related: Post about the Metropolitan Opera’s broadcasts, which can be seen in 1,500 venues in 46 countries.