Directors, organizational representatives and student leaders from more than 50 member and participating ensembles convened the weekend of January 27th as Drum Corps International conducted its annual business meeting at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta.
Attendees received positive news on several fronts, including strong season-end financial and attendance results, increased participation at all levels, and a strategic look ahead as DCI prepares to celebrate its 45th anniversary season.
Financial highlights reflect positive trends across DCI business spectrum
“The last three years have been three of the best in DCI’s history, and we continue to build on that momentum. The results speak for themselves,” said Fred Morrison, chairperson of the DCI Board of Directors and executive director of the Crossmen.
In 2016, top-line revenue grew by 12.1 percent year-over-year to $13 million. This result marks the fourth consecutive year of revenue growth for Drum Corps International.
“Several key factors help bring about trends such as this,” said Wayne Leide, DCI’s chief financial officer. “First, the corps are performing at a very high level and somehow keep topping themselves every year. Second, there is no question that the economy is in a better place than it was five or so years ago. Third, in DCI’s formal business plan, there has been an intentional and focused strategy to engage more people in a variety of ways.”
Revenue growth in 2016 was primarily driven by ticket sales, with strong results at all DCI operated events. For the three nights of the DCI World Championships at Lucas Oil Stadium, combined paid attendance was nearly 40,000—the highest three-day total since DCI began hosting events in Indianapolis in 2009.
With record paid attendance at the DCI Southwestern Championship presented by Fred J. Miller, Inc. in San Antonio, combined with near record attendance at the DCI Southeastern Championship presented by Lone Star Percussion in Atlanta, as well as the reintroduction of events into the Florida market and solid revenue performances from events throughout the entire DCI Tour, overall ticket revenue grew by an impressive 13.2 percent…
Beyond the revenue numbers, a key metric of relevance to the strategic business plan objective of “engaging more people in the Drum Corps International experience” focuses on participation within the ranks of performing groups. In 2016, DCI experienced growth in each of the following areas:
• Open Class – more individual members participating through a greater number of corps and larger corps
• Group ticket sales – the number of groups attending and the average size of those groups both continue to rise
• SoundSport® – the number of groups participating and the international exposure of this program
• INpact Indiana’s Future Band – the number of participants (increased to 480 middle school students in 2016) and initial efforts to roll out the BANDtastic! Honor Band program to locations beyond Indianapolis
SoundSport® blooming domestically and abroad
For the first time at the DCI annual winter business meetings, SoundSport team directors were in attendance for their own exclusive development sessions and networking opportunities.
“Attending these meetings gives us the opportunity to find out more about what’s going on not just with SoundSport, but with all of DCI,” said Bill Gullatt of the Rocketeers, a Huntsville, Alabama-based SoundSport team. “We learned we have the same struggles other groups have, including building a fan base, dealing with financial concerns, and recruiting new members.”
Featuring an expanded schedule of competitive and non-competitive U.S.-based performance showcases during the summer of 2017, SoundSport teams will have the opportunity to perform in conjunction with DCI Tour events in Orlando, San Antonio, the Atlanta area, and the SoundSport International Music and Food Festival in downtown Indianapolis during the DCI World Championship Finals in August, among others.
The SoundSport division of Drum Corps International is also planting firm roots overseas, with the continued development of events in Europe, and a new partnership with Drum Corps United Kingdom (DCUK) that was announced in December.
Representatives from DCUK were in attendance during the DCI Annual Meeting and spoke to the success the organization is already seeing with SoundSport.
“We know there are people out there in the UK who used to be involved in the activity but who just don’t have the wherewithal to actually get a full-blown marching unit out,” said Alan Thompson, chairperson of the Marching & Performing Arts UK organization. “SoundSport makes that opportunity available to them.”
Additional SoundSport events and partnerships are also in development with organizations in Indonesia, Japan, Lithuania, Guatemala, Brazil, Canada, Thailand, China and Taiwan.