Edinburgh Festival pre-sales increase in 2012 despite Olympic fever
Olympic TV viewing figures thought to have little effect on final ticket sales figure
This article is from 2012.
With the 2012 London Olympics drawing sky-high television ratings – 10.7 million viewers tuned in to watch Andy Murray win gold in the Olympic tennis final last Sunday afternoon while a further 10.1 million watched Chris Hoy take his second gold on Tuesday evening – it was anticipated that this was going to impact ticket sales at this year's Edinburgh festivals.
However, while many London businesses have complained of a drop in customers over the last few weeks, the same cannot be said for those hosting events at this month's various festivals. Although there was a recorded ten percent fall in the sale of Fringe tickets during the 2008 Beijing Olympics – a drop also considered to be a due to a faulty ticketing system - there has not been a decrease in sales so far in 2012. A small but perceptible drop in numbers during the first week of the Fringe was noticed by some venues, and was put down to a combination of heavy rain and the Olympics, however the first Saturday was judged to be as busy as ever.
Organisers this year have specifically targeted marketing towards London, in a bid to both encourage Londoners who would rather take some time away from their hosting city to spend the duration of the games in Edinburgh, and also in the hope that foreigners travelling to the UK for the Olympics may decide to extend their stay with a trip north. Having tailored a package particularly to the travel trade for the first time ever, the Edinburgh Festivals Passport offers clients three show tickets over the course of a day and was designed to complement the London games. In addition to this, some tickets to this year's Fringe have been available as early as January.
The Edinburgh International Festival opened with a sales increase of 8% on last year, while the Edinburgh International Book Festival has reported sales are on par with last year. Individual venues have also seen good results. Sam Gough, event designer at Venue150@EICC commented that ''Total ticket sales are running 50% ahead of opening week last year as pre-sales have jumped from half to three quarters of our projected box office. A strong fifteen-show programme coupled with going on sale early looks to have captured a bigger slice of those festival visitors who have planned their time on the Fringe ahead of time'. This large auditorium boasts household name comedy acts such as Alan Davies and Jimmy Carr which is sure to draw big audiences. Other venues are also citing increases in ticket sales compared to last year, and although the full amount of sales made won't be known until after the festivals end, it seems unlikely that this is going to change when the Olympics finish this Sunday.