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Tuesday, 18 December, 2001, 01:04 GMT
New York's Broadway ticket giveaway
Majestic Theatre, New York City
New York theatres have suffered dropping sales
By Jane Standley in New York

Despite New York City's financial problems following the 11 September attacks, the city administration is to buy 50,000 tickets to Broadway shows.

Broadway musicals and plays have been badly hit and face even more difficult times, as attendance traditionally falls off in the new year.

Broadway
Most of the tickets are for January and February
The tickets will mainly be used as part of a promotion called Spend Your Regards to Broadway.

The 50,000 tickets will cost the city's administrations about $2.5m at a time when New York city is trying hard to cut its greatly overspent budget.

But the city's leaders argue that by propping up Broadway, one of New York's most famous attractions, as much as $12m could be generated in revenue for struggling businesses.

Criticism

Most of the tickets the city has bought are for January and February performances, traditionally a very slow time for Broadway, and they will be given free to shoppers in exchange for receipts for goods and services bought to the value of more than $500.

Tourism to New York City has been severely down since the 11 September attacks, from both overseas and the rest of the United States.

But the city says it is determined to get people back and enjoying what it has to offer, hence the title Spend Your Regards to Broadway for the free ticket promotion.

The promotion is not pleasing everyone though.

Charities who work with New York's poor say they are facing huge budget cuts too and that keeping the lights on Broadway should not be getting such a high priority.

See also:

03 Oct 01 | Showbiz
Broadway shows recovery signs
02 Oct 01 | Showbiz
Beauty threatened with closure
27 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Broadway box office receipts rise
24 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Reprieve for Kiss Me Kate
25 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Broadway begins fight back
21 Sep 01 | Americas
Tourism shaken to the core
18 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Cash aid for struggling Broadway
18 Sep 01 | Arts
Broadway shows signal closure
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