At Pro Sports MVP, it is our goal to create memorable and enjoyable experiences for an investment which fits our clients’ various budget parameters. Celebrity appearances and events can be powerful and effective whether an organization’s resources allow for a local or regional athlete, or whether the client has funding available to secure a celebrity with national or international recognition.
The athletes and celebrities with whom we work require quite a range of appearance fees- anywhere from $3,000 on the lower end to upwards of $75,000-$100,000 on the higher end of the scale. Typically, fees depend on how recognizable the personality is to the public, their success and visibility in their respective field (sports, television/film, etc), and their salary and/or net worth.
Retail Appearance Fees
We have found that regional sports personalities maximize our clients’ investment when implementing appearances for retail grand openings and promotions. The customers of a particular retail outlet typically live within a 1 hour drive of the store location, so regional celebrities are a natural fit. They are also more budget-friendly, so the advantage is two-fold. Former and current sports personalities from the major sports teams of a particular market are ideal candidates for a grand opening or retail promotion. For example, if we were working with a client in the suburbs of Chicago, we would offer our recommendations for Chicago Cubs, Bears, White Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks.
The investment levels for the retail appearances we have implemented are typically in the $5,000-$15,000 range. We do have relationships with national/high-profile celebrities as well that may demand an investment up to $25,000-$75,000 for retail appearances, depending on our client’s needs and the scope of their event.
A standard retail appearance includes:
25 pre-signed items
1-2 pre-event (call-in) or onsite interviews (to help promote the event)
15-minute employee/management meet and greet
2-2.5 hour public appearance- autographs, photographs, meet and greet
Name and likeness usage for promotion in conjunction with the event
Customized autograph cards with Celebrity photo, bio and company logo
Non-profit Events and Fundraising Programs
We work with a number of celebrities that are willing participate in charitable events and fundraisers at a lower investment than their corporate appearance fee, especially for causes close to their heart; however it is rare that we are able to offer speakers for no charge, as they receive numerous inquiries and many do not even review offers when there is no appearance fee available.
As mentioned, fees can range anywhere from $3,000 to $75,000 and up, depending on the name recognition, how current the celebrity or athlete is, etc. In our experience, the discounts extended for non-profits in can range from 20-60%… again, depending on the celebrity.
A standard fundraising appearance includes:
25 pre-signed items
2-3 hour time commitment
Celebrities responsibilities may include: keynote speech (anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour- depending on your needs, and the speaker), Q & A, autograph/photograph session, meet and greet, media interviews. Components can be customized to our clients’ needs.
Corporate Appearance Fees
Celebrities will typically charge a “rack rate” for appearances that are considered “corporate” opportunities- events or appearances that do not have a tie-in to a charitable cause and are in conjunction with a “for-profit” organization (i.e. pharmaceutical companies, IT firms, etc). There is an inherent notion that corporations are able to support larger budgets, and without the draw of a “good cause”, many businesses may find it more difficult to negotiate down from a celebrity’s standard fee.
A standard corporate appearance includes:
25 pre-signed items
2-3 hour time commitment
Celebrities responsibilities may include: keynote speech (anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour- depending on your needs, and the speaker), Q & A, autograph/photograph session, meet and greet, media interviews. Components be customized to our clients’ needs.
Tips to Managing Costs
Call in the Pros. We at Pro Sports MVP are able to offer preferred pricing as a result of long-standing celebrity relationships. When a celebrity is approached by someone they have never worked with, it is standard procedure for them to quote their “rack rate”, as they are usually aware that the opportunity will be a “one-time” deal. Since Pro Sports MVP has marketing agreements with hundreds of celebrities, we are able to leverage our relationships to negotiate lower fees for our clients, as we often book celebrities several or dozens of times each year. The personality knows we have been a reputable firm for 15 years, understands the efficiency of working with us on multiple events, and enjoys the confidence that they are in good hands with our staff, as opposed to working with an organization with whom they have no experience or comfort level.
Get By With a Little Help From Your Sponsors. Many of our clients (non-profit, retail, and corporate) have partnered with sponsors or vendors to fund some or all of the cost celebrity appearances. The sponsor can be offered on-site signage, a presence on autograph cards, a mention in the celebrity’s speech (if applicable), or a variety of other benefits specific to your particular event or program.
Go Local. When considering athletes for celebrity appearances, it is almost always more cost-effective to book a person who lives within driving distance to the event location. In addition to eliminating travel costs, celebrities are more likely to agree to participate in an appearance at a lower fee if the overall time commitment is minimal.
Start at the Bottom. Do not be afraid to negotiate a celebrity’s fee. This is especially true if you are quoted a fee that either does not fit your budget or that you feel is inflated. A counter-offer will often succeed if you extend a firm offer based on your budget, rather than asking if they will accept less than their normal asking price. Another strategy is to reduce the original requested appearance time or responsibilities to receive a reduced fee.
Find the Soft Spot. Tie in the celebrity appearance to a charity about
which the celebrity feels strongly, and tie that charity in to your event. For example, during a trade show, the attendees can make a donation to a designated charity to get an autograph or picture with the celebrity, with full proceeds going to the charity.
Give an Incentive. If applicable, you can ensure that the celebrity is aware that many of the attendees at the event or conference have marketing dollars to spend on celebrities and that there would likely be future opportunities if the first event goes as well as anticipated.