The Oxford Union’s ball this term underperformed initial sales expectations by almost 100 tickets –– likely plunging the event into the red.
According to a budget obtained by The Oxford Student, the Union’s ‘Bombay Dreams’ ball in fourth week only sold 206 of the targeted 300 tickets organisers originally hoped to sell.
While official estimates have yet to be released, it is likely that the Union lost money on the ball. Original figures put the Union making £573 off the event, but did not take into account the deficit in ticket sales.
Zara McGlone, who organised the event, said she thinks that after the numbers have been tabulated the Union will break even. She said that when it became clear the attendance would not break 300, she scaled back expenditures to make up for the flagging sales.
“When we recognized it was Trinity term––when many other balls are going on and many students have exams––we decided to slash most of our costs by a third,” McGlone said.
Still, not all costs could be trimmed back, and it’s probable that the poor sales have plunged the budget into negative territory.
The attendance pales in comparison to last term’s ball, which sold more than 600 tickets.
James Moseley, a third year maths student who went to the ball, said it doesn’t surprise him that the event underperformed expectations.
“It was one of the worst balls I’ve ever been to. The food was almost nonexistent, no one knew how to make a gin and tonic, and the place looked empty,” Moseley said.
Despite such complaints, McGlone said she received no negative feedback about the event.
“Everything went very smoothly, and I’m personally very happy with how it turned out,” McGlone said.