The Future. “Funflation” is hitting American wallets, forcing people to pull back on the amount they spend on live experiences. For all but the biggest stars who can command nearly any price, that may signal some alarm. If prices don’t level out, there may be a shift to people saving for a handful of tentpole experiences per year — a change that may hurt middle-class artists, venues, and theme parks that rely on a stable flow of fans and visitors to survive.
The price of play
Experiential entertainment is now really, really expensive.
- A WSJ/Credit Karma survey found 60% of Americans have cut back on spending on live entertainment because prices are too high, with 37% saying they simply can’t keep up with price increases.
- How high are we talking? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, admission tickets to concerts, live events, and sports games rose more in price faster than nearly every other good last year.
- Taking a look at just concert tickets, they cost 7.4% more on average than last year and 27% more than they did in 2019, per Pollstar.
- To see stars at the top of their game across any event — Swift, Beyoncé, Messi, etc. — those costs were much, much higher.
- And it’s not just events. Admissions to theme parks like Disney World have hit record highs, too… which is already pricing people out and making visits decline overall.
Still, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis found Americans are set to spend $95 billion this year on live experiences — 23% more than last year.
So, while everyone’s posting record grosses, it may be from consumers who are saving up to spend on only one or two big-ticket events per year.