U.S. gymnasts’ tour scores well at box office
USA Gymnastics and AEG generated more than $15 million in revenue from the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions, making it the most successful post-Olympics gymnastics tour since the one that followed the 1996 Atlanta Games.
USA Gymnastics President and CEO Steve Penny said he expects the tour will be profitable for both his organization and its partner in the tour, AEG. He added that almost all of USAG’s proceeds would go to the gymnasts and coaches who put the tour together.
“These athletes have worked their whole lives for this moment and they’re the ones who sell the tickets,” Penny said. “We do it for all the other reasons. It helps build our brand. It helps integrate sponsors to the grassroots level.”
The tour averaged 6,413 spectators per stop. The best-attended events on the tour came in the final two weekends when it visited Boston; Newark, N.J.; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Hartford, Conn.; Brooklyn; and Atlanta.
Boston, which drew 15,940 spectators, had the highest attendance of any stop. West Valley, Utah, which drew 2,700 spectators, had the lowest.
One of the ways USAG drove ticket sales was by enlisting the support of local gymnastics clubs. For every 25 tickets a club sold, it got to put one of its members in the opening ceremony of the show. More than 3,330 kids wound up in the opening ceremonies before the 40 tour stops.
The high per caps at the events were driven in part by strong program and merchandise sales. The tour sold 26,092 programs, 21,204 T-shirts and 17,545 items featuring the “Fierce Five” moniker given to the women’s gymnastics team of Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber.
“The success of the women’s team was tremendous in attracting the American public,” Penny said.
USAG and AEG signed a two-tour deal last year and plan to run another tour after the 2016 Rio Games.