What does it really cost to hire a sports star?
Today’s top athletes are truly incredible individuals. Their strength, skill, dedication, work ethic and ability to attain the lofty goals they set for themselves raises the bar for human achievement year after year. They are the closest entities we have to superheroes. And to many, they are role models. Their stories range from broken childhoods to potentially career-destroying physical ailments and overcoming obstacles to reach the pinnacle of success. Sports stars are the ultimate inspiration. There may be no better way to motivate your audience than to hire a sports star as the featured motivational speaker for your business conference, internal meeting, fundraising event or sports gala. But what does it cost to hire a sports star to speak at your event?
Appearance / Speaking Fee:
First thing’s first. Most every motivational sports speaker on the circuit has a standard fee for different types of executions whether it be a simple keynote speech and nothing else or a keynote and audience Q&A, moderated Q&A, book signing, VIP meet & greet or a combination of these executions.
There are several factors to take into account when determining the caliber of sports speaker you can afford with your budget. For example, the biggest athletes in major sports today such as Aaron Rodgers, Steph Curry, or Clayton Kershaw are largely unavailable for speaking engagements and personal appearances during pre-season training and the actual season. During the offseason, their clout alone catapults them to the 6-figure budget range for appearances.
On the flip side, retired sports speakers are much more readily available. Their fees vary depending on what they have done post-career and their current relevancy in the marketplace. Peyton Manning, Michael Phelps and Magic Johnson all still command a 6-figure speaking fee because of their ongoing clout. But other retired sports speakers such as Mark Spitz, Lou Holtz and Abby Wambach are not nearly as expensive because they have made motivational speaking a priority in their professional life after sports.
Having said that, Olympians are some of the top sports keynote speakers for hire in any season because they can offer name-recognition that will generate a buzz, stay relevant longer and have generally open schedules outside the months leading up to and during the Olympic Games. Someone like Lindsey Vonn would be a sell out next year with the winter Olympics around the corner in February!
With such a wide variety of speaker options, speaker fees run the gambit in cost. The best thing to do is to contact a speaker agent at Celebrity Speakers Bureau who can secure fees quickly and help negotiate the fee if it is out of budget. No matter your budget, there’s an athlete right for your event.
Speaker Transportation & Accommodations:
Unless you’re looking to hire a sports star that is local and can transport themselves to the event, you will be responsible for speaker travel costs including but not limited to: flights, professional car service in home and event city, and hotel accommodations.
The benefit of hiring a local sports star helps to cut travel costs, often limiting the spend to just car service to/from the event with no need for an overnight stay at a hotel. Having said that, the time of your event is important to consider when booking sports speakers. If the event is going to last late into the night and the speaker has more than a few hours drive home, they may ask for a 1-night stay at a hotel.
For sports speakers traveling from out of town, there are two ways to cover their travel. Some speakers ask for a travel buyout in which you will pay an upfront fee and they will handle booking their own travel using that stipend. While a travel buyout may save you time in the logistics process, there may be better ways to cut costs when booking speaker travel.
The second option to cover travel is to book it yourself. You must work with your speaker to determine their preferred flights (specific airline, time, etc.), car service company and hotel needs before you lock anything in. This option allows you to use any special discounts your company might be privy to such as flight rewards or hotel rooms you have already paid for and blocked off for your event at a discounted rate.
Finally, does this athlete come alone? Is there an assistant who must come? A spouse? An agent? A manager? These may be costs you will need to cover as well so it’s important to find out this information upfront.
Event Promotion & Execution:
There are few figures as publicly seen as athletes. Not only do we watch them as they compete, both also in person and on television. They’re also affiliated with a smattering of brands. Clothing labels, like Nike, have endorsements from a massive quantity of athletes that include basketball players LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Or think about cars – BMW is repped by speed demon Usain Bolt. Tennis players are full of endorsements, like Andre Agassi with Canon, Anna Kournikova with Omega watches, and Serena Williams with Pepsi. And many athletes have their own brands, too, just to make it even more complicated.
The lists of celebrity athlete endorsements are endless. Still, you’ll need to know these affiliations when you plan your event. There might be a conflict of interest if you give the celebrity a packaged water bottle from a competitor, or you can’t travel them in a certain make of vehicle. Sounds picky, but they’re paid a lot of money to be associated with particular products. Do your homework, but don’t be afraid to reach out to us at Celebrity Speakers Bureau. We’re sure to have branding information at the ready.
Additionally, how do you plan to market your event? Do you have in-house staff that can create banners, email blasts and social media posts or will you have to lean on another agency to create these materials? You want to put your best foot forward, and in doing so, creating a positive buzz around your event to be sure the money you spent to hire a sports star is well spent. Make sure you have a handle on your marketing budget and execute flawlessly!
Treating Your Speaker:
Who doesn’t like a night on the town? A lot of athletes want to enjoy their time in a city, and sometimes they want to do it with their new client – you! While you may want to take them out to dinner, or even another special event if you really want to wine and dine them, don’t forget it’s still work. What you do and say still matters and everything should be on your company dime. On the other hand, there are many celebrity sports speakers who prefer to pack it in for a quiet night to prepare for their speech. At the end of the day, you must be respectful and accommodating of your speaker’s preferences.
What’s the message here? Use your agent! Not just to help you navigate the process when you hire a sports star, but also to help control costs. Your event is important, and we’re here to make sure you get the most bang for your buck, with an incredible celebrity sports speaker. We’re available to talk about any event, no matter what size or style. We’ve done it all, and we’re looking forward to putting our expertise to use for your next speaker event. To get more information about how we can help, contact us today!