Metropolitan Opera expects balanced budget, amid long-term challenges

Posted on: August 22, 2016

“Despite a record low in paid attendance last season, the Metropolitan Opera is on track to balance its budget for the second year in a row,” writes Jennifer Smith in Wednesday’s (8/17) Wall Street Journal. Ongoing challenges for the company include “tens of millions in unfunded pension liabilities on its balance sheet.… Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, said … the company … was able to make up for disappointing ticket sales in fiscal 2016 with deeper expense cuts and ‘of course relying on the generosity of our donors.’ … The Met raised about $140 million in fiscal 2016…. These figures and others could shift as the company closes out its books for fiscal 2016, which ended July 31…. The Met is also scaling back the amount it draws from its endowment [which] now stands at about $255 million…. The draw rate for fiscal 2017 year is 5.5%…. The 2015-2016 season … had the Met’s lowest average paid attendance on record … just 72% of all seats…. The Met has been trying various ways to expand its audiences, from discounting to offering more tickets at lower price points to broadcasting its lavish productions around the world through its Live in HD program.”

Posted August 22, 2016