Orlando local arts groups not happy about increased fees at Dr. Phillips Center

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando local arts groups are not happy to see another increase in fees by the Dr. Phillips Center.

Last month, talks to arrange rental rates for the new Steinmetz Hall stalled.

Art groups said all the added fees were a problem then and their contracts with the Dr. Philips Center state ticket handling fees could increase at any time without notice.

The Orlando Ballet said they have to be mindful of their customer’s limits and if fees get too high, the only way to balance is to drop their own ticket prices and lose funds they can’t afford to lose.

Ticket processing convenience fees at the Dr. Phillips Center climbed 1% higher this past summer.

A spokesperson said the hike from 15.5% to 16.5% comes out to 50 cents on a $50 ticket and is in line with industry standard.

But that’s something local arts groups are questioning, both Opera Orlando and the Orlando Ballet said they were completely unaware of the increase.

Last month, the ballet’s president expressed concerns about add on fees when talks stalled over rental rates.

“There are front of house charges security charges. There is a per ticket facility fee. There are even additional add on charges the audience pays at point of sale at the box office,” said Jonathan Ledden, of the Orlando Ballet.

The Orlando Ballet’s executive director said because they have no say in the fees, they would like to have notice of increases.

Opera Orlando’s executive director said while each venue does things differently, some have fee reductions for resident companies.

He said the best comparison would be Tampa’s Straz Center, where an $89 ticket becomes $89.30 with added fees.

At the Dr. Phillips Center, that same $89 ticket becomes $103.68 with added fees-- four times higher than Tampa’s fee structure-- and 24% of the $89 that is going to the Dr. Phillips Center.

The Dr. Phillips Center also added a convenience fee for tickets that are bought over the phone.
It can be avoided by purchasing tickets directly at the arts center's box office.

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