2019 Tony Awards Betting Odds

by James Murphy in Entertainment  / May 22, 2019

  • The Tony Awards recognize excellence in live Broadway theater.
  • Nominations for the 73rd Tony Awards were announced on April 30.
  • The 73rd Tony Awards ceremony will be broadcast by CBS on June 9.

The Tony Awards debuted on April 6, 1947 and have managed to remain relevant in the digital age. The ‘official’ name of the award is The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre but since that is a bit of a mouthful the name was immediately shortened to Tony Awards. The award is named for Broadway actress/director/producer Antoinette Perry who died in 1946. She was the co-founder of the American Theatre Wing which is the live drama equivalent to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The same organization continues to present these awards annually. The story is that Ms. Perry was nicknamed ‘Tony’ which makes the shortened version of the award extremely appropriate. The ‘Tony’ nickname dates back to the first awards presentation and is credited to Warner Brothers story editor Jacob Wilk. Legend has it that he coined the name in a complete ad-lib while giving out one of the first awards and it quickly caught on.

For the first few Tony Awards, the American Theatre Wing gave out some seriously useful swag in lieu of an award. In the first two years of the Tony Awards the prizes were a scroll, a cigarette lighter and articles of jewelry such as 14-carat gold compacts and bracelets for the women and money clips for the men. The award trophy itself was first used in 1949 and the official Tony Awards website provides this background:

In 1949 the designers’ union, United Scenic Artists, sponsored a contest for a suitable model for the award. The winning entry, a disk-shaped medallion designed by Herman Rosse, depicted the masks of comedy and tragedy on one side and the profile of Antoinette Perry on the other. The medallion was initiated that year at the third annual dinner. It continues to be the official Tony Award.

Since 1967 the medallion has been mounted on a black pedestal with a curved armature. After the ceremony, each award is numbered for tracking purposes and engraved with the winner’s name.

THE TONY AWARDS’ TV VIEWERSHIP UP IN 2018

In a fragmented digital world, the prominence of live theatre has declined to a significant degree. Likewise, the viewership of the Tony Awards has also dropped. In 1974, the Tony Awards attracted 20,026,000 viewers. By 1990, the Tony Awards had shed nearly half of that audience as 10.12 million viewers watched the presentation show. By the year 2000, the audience dwindled to 8.5 million but since then it has bounced up and down in a fairly narrow range with a low of 5.7 in 2007 and a high of 8.7 in 2016. Since 2000, the show has averaged 7.12 million viewers a year suggesting that there’s a core audience for live theatre that hasn’t abandoned the Tony Awards. The 2016 Awards drew a 1.6 rating with 8.7 million viewers, largely attributed to the curious mainstream popularity of ‘Hamilton’. If that was the case, the absence of ‘Hamilton’ took a toll in the ratings in 2017–the Tony’s dropped to a 0.9 rating and 6 million viewers which is a drop of 44% in the ratings and 31% in total viewers.

CBS has remained committed to the Tony Awards not so much for their mainstream popularity but for the impressive demographics that it attracts. In short–rich and smart. Despite the lower ratings the producers have no trouble selling advertising since the Tony Awards’ demographics are a marketers dream. The CBS broadcast of the 2018 Tony Awards saw a surprising upswing in the ratings:

“The final numbers have the Tonys bringing in a 1.0/4 among adults 18-49 and 6.32 million viewers. Without any of the strong sporting competition of recent years, that’s an 11% demo increase and a 4% uptick in total audience.”

The 6.32 million viewers was a nice improvement from the year before. Some observers credited the improvement to the broad appeal of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and a performance by Bruce Springsteen but I’m skeptical that ‘The Boss’ can bring in over a quarter million viewers at this stage of his career:

The Tony Awards saw ratings tick upward with a Sunday night show highlighted by a Bruce Springsteen performance and big wins for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”

The 2018 Tonys scored a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen overnight numbers, up one tenth of a point from last year’s telecast. Hosted by Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban, the show also averaged 6.3 million total viewers, up 5% from last year. Ahead of the telecast, “60 Minutes” drew a 0.7 rating and 7.9 million viewers.

For whatever reason, the increase in the 2018 Tony Award viewership is one of the few award shows in recent years that has seen anything but a double digit decline in viewership. The 2018 Oscars had the lowest rating in the history of the telecast though it rebounded a bit in 2019. The Grammy Awards, meanwhile is completely flat lining having lost 24% of it’s audience in 2018 and achieving only a marginal increase in 2019.

Much has been made of the changing broadcast television landscape with many suggesting that ‘ratings don’t matter any more’. While that might be an oversimplification in the post digital revolution media landscape there is considerable truth to that. If content of any type can aggregate an audience on a wide variety of platforms there’s a good chance it can be monetized. The Tony Awards could be a beneficiary of this trend. The Broadway League sounds happy with the relationship with CBS but at some point in the not too distant future it could be in their best interest to re-think the Tony Awards broadcasting format. Given the demographics, you’d have to think that many in the audience would purchase a pay-per-view version of the broadcast on a streaming platform or even via the Tony Awards website.

Here are the odds for the 2019 Tony Awards. The Tony Awards presentation ceremony will air live on CBS starting at 8 PM Eastern/7 Central on June 9, 2019 :

2019 TONY AWARDS BETTING ODDS

2019 TONY AWARDS NIELSEN RATING

Over 4.75                                             -150
Under 4.75 +130

2019 TONY AWARDS SHARE

10 or Over                                            -250
Under 10 +210

2019 TONY AWARDS INITIAL VIEWERSHIP OF CBS LIVE BROADCAST

Over 6.15 million                                     -170
Under 6.15 million +150

The previous three TV ratings propositions will be graded using data reported at TV By The Numbers.

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST PLAY’

The Ferryman                                          +200
What the Constitution Means to Me +225
Ink +350
Choir Boy +400
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus +400

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST MUSICAL’

The Prom                                              +200
Tootsie +225
Hadestown +225
Ain't Too Proud +500
Beetlejuice +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL’

Oklahoma                                              -210
Kiss Me Kate +180

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY’

Burn This                                             +200
All My Sons +225
The Waverly Gallery +250
The Boys in the Band +500
Any Musical Revival +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY’

Paddy Considine/The Ferryman                          +225
Jeff Daniels/To Kill A Mockingbird +225
Bryan Cranston/Network +225
Adam Driver/Burn This +500
Jeremy Pope/Choir Boy +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY’

Elaine May/The Waverly Gallery                        +250
Annette Benning/All My Sons +275
Laurie Metcalf/Hillary and Clinton +300
Laura Donnelly/The Ferryman +500
Heidi Schreck/What the Constitution Means To Me +500
Janet McTeer/Bernhardt/Hamlet +700

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL’

Santino Fontana/Tootsie                                +200
Damon Daunno/Oklahoma! +225
Alex Brightman/Beetlejuice +350
Brooks Ashmanskas/The Prom +350
Derek Baskin/Ain't Too Proud +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL’

Stephanie J. Block/The Cher Show                       +200
Kelli O'Hara/Kiss Me Kate +300
Beth Leavel/The Prom +300
Eva Noblezada/Hadestown +300
Caitlin Kinnunen/The Prom +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY’

Brandon Uranowitz/Burn This                            +600
Robin De Jesus/The Boys in the Band +1500
Gideon Glick/To Kill A Mockingbird +1500
Bertie Carvel/Ink +1500
Benjamin Walker/All My Sons +1500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY’

Celia Keenan-Bolger/To Kill A Mockingbird              +125
Fionnula Flanagan/The Ferryman +225
Julie White/Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus +500
Kristine Nielsen/Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus +500
Ruth Wilson/Wm. Shakespeare's King Lear +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL’

Andre De Shields/Hadestown                             +200
Patrick Page/Hadestown +250
Ephraim Sykes/Ain't Too Proud +250
Andy Grotelueschen/Tootsie +500
Jeremy Pope/Ain't Too Proud +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL’

Ali Stroker/Oklahoma!                                  +175
Amber Gray/Hadestown +200
Mary Testa/Oklahoma! +450
Sarah Stiles/Tootsie +450
Lilli Cooper/Tootsie +450

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY’

The Ferryman                                           +150
To Kill A Mockingbird +175
Network +500
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus +500
Ink +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL’

Oklahoma!                                              +200
Hadestown +225
The Prom +350
Tootsie +350
Ain't Too Proud +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST MUSICAL SCORE’

Hadestown                                              +225
The Prom +250
Tootsie +500
Be More Chill +500
Beetlejuice +500
To Kill a Mockingbird +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST MUSICAL BOOK’

Tootsie                                                +150
Hadestown +215
The Prom +300
Ain't Too Proud +500
Beetlejuice +700

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST CHOREOGRAPHY’

Kiss Me Kate                                           +200
Hadestown +225
Tootsie +250
Ain't Too Proud +500
Choir Boy +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST ORCHESTRATIONS’

Oklahoma!                                              +200
Hadestown +225
Kiss Me Kate +350
Tootsie +350
Ain't Too Proud +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY’

The Ferryman                                           +200
To Kill A Mockingbird +225
Network +250
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus +500
Ink +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL’

Hadestown                                              +175
Beetlejuice +250
King Kong +250
Ain't Too Proud +500
Oklahoma +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY’

The Ferryman                                           +225
To Kill A Mockingbird +225
Torch Song +300
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus +300
Bernhardt/Hamlet +600

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL’

The Cher Show                                          +175
Beetlejuice +225
Hadestown +225
Ain't Too Proud +600
Tootsie +600

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY’

Network                                                +200
The Ferryman +225
Ink +250
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus +500
To Kill A Mockingbird +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL’

Hadestown                                              +175
Beetlejuice +225
King Kong +300
Ain't Too Proud +500
The Cher Show +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY’

The Ferryman                                           +175
Network +225
Ink +300
Choir Boy +500
To Kill A Mockingbird +500

TO WIN THE TONY AWARD FOR ‘BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL’

Hadestown                                              +200
Beetlejuice +225
King Kong +300
Ain't Too Proud +450
Oklahoma +450

James Murphy

James Murphy is a preeminent authority on the international gambling industry and has made frequent appearances in the mainstream media including the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Forbes, Entertainment Weekly, CNBC and NPR. He has previously worked as a radio and podcasting host where he broadcast to an international audience that depended on his expertise and advice. Murphy also serves as an odds making consultant for sports and ‘non-sport novelty bets’ covering the entertainment industry, politics, technology, financial markets and just about everything else.

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