WASHINGTON -- The National Endowment for the Arts has released a new study showing that although more Americans regularly go to the movies, they spend more money on the performing arts in terms of ticket revenue.
The performing arts are generating billions in revenue, falling in between sports events and the movies as a measure of their economic value, according to the study released Thursday.
The most recent estimates from 2009 show Americans spent $14.5 billion on tickets for the performing arts. As a comparison, that's $6 billion less than Americans spent on sports admissions but $4 billion more than they spent on movie tickets.
More people are attending movies but are willing to pay more for theater, concerts and other performances, generating more revenue in ticket sales for the arts.
The study shows theaters and concerts from Broadway to small towns draw about 1.5 million attendees every day. At the same time, about 3.4 million are attending the movies each day, and sports events draw nearly 2.7 million people daily.
NEA Research Director Sunil Iyengar said the fact that performing arts ticket revenue is bigger than movie ticket sales will surprise many people.
The study also found museums draw more than 500,000 people any given day and nearly 900,000 on weekends based on time use surveys.
The data is from the U.S. Economic Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources.