Why giving away free tickets is a good idea!

As I am Dutch, I love the word “gratis” or “free”. Many show owners hate the word when it comes to giving away tickets to their show for free. Not everyone will agree with me on this subject and for sure there are good arguments for both sides. If I balance the arguments I guarantee that giving away free tickets has a positive effect on the financial and probably even the artistic side of your show.
*disclaimer: this only works with a well-balanced marketing plan.


It never seems to matter if people who come to see your show paid for it or got a free ticket. The more people who visit the more people who need drinks, popcorn or merchandise. Audience members  that didn’t buy a ticket are not less likely to spend less. Seats left empty do not bring in the extra concessions.

Every member of your audience is part of a social thing. If someone in front of you has popcorn it is very likely that you will want some as well. So in short, the more people that buy concessions the more you sell compared to when these seats would have been empty.


When your tent or theatre is crowded it brings an atmosphere, people feel part of something good and like to share that on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or just in a local bar. Let people share their opinions online and offer them a photowall, autographs or something interactive.


You need these people to talk about you simply because:

The average person will not go and see a show unless they are convinced it’s a good show.


Would you go and see the worst production you have ever seen again? Even if it was for free? The answer is probably no! You can generate a positive feeling when you have a good show and a full house. If you have done your job well and people loved your show, every free ticket you gave away becomes a voice saying, “You should definitely see this show”.


The same buzz around your show can be generated by creating and running a contest to win free tickets. “Like and share” on facebook might do perfectly well for a touring show.


Sometimes it could happen that you have to send people away because it is full after giving out too many free tickets (or better, because you sold many tickets). Some people see that as something bad, but the average circus director would tell the press with a splendid poker face “We were sold out!”.


Let me consult you on the best options to market your show. Have a look on sabioleon.com and contact me!