The Secret Salaries of Professional Sports Mascots
It’s no secret that top athletes get paid a handsome amount to keep winning games. Quarterback Eli Manning took home a record-breaking $252.3 million for his efforts, while baseball ace Zack Greinke was paid $24 million in 2019 alone. However, it’s not just sports stars that bring home the bacon. Some of those beloved mascots actually make all-star salaries too.
It’s difficult to believe that the goofy characters you see courtside entertaining the crowds often earn considerably more than most people in 9-5 jobs, but it’s true. Join us as we take a look at some of the eye-watering salaries of professional sports mascots. You might be surprised at what we’ve found.
Team: Chicago Bulls
Pay: $200,000 per year*
Benny isn’t your average bull. Back in 2013, this famous Chicago emblem was named the most popular sports mascot by Forbes. Benny is a great dancer that can perform some impressive flips and jumps.
Families love him for his pranks, like throwing popcorn and silly string at the crowd during Chicago Bulls NBA games. But you may not realize that Benny the Bull was also the first ever sports mascot, rearing his horned head way back in 1969.
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Pay: $65,000 per year*
The average American makes an estimated $61,000 annually – which means that the Dallas Cowboys’ Rowdy is earning higher than most Americans! Unlike others in his field, Rowdy isn’t an otherworldly being or an animal, but rather a quintessential Texan in a cowboy hat. It hasn’t been all fun and games for the rootin’ tootin’ cheerer, though.
Rowdy’s salary came to light when one of the team’s cheerleaders got wind of what he made per year. She argued that her pay in comparison (it worked out at less than half of what the mascot made) was unfair and even took her claims to court.
Team: Boston Red Sox
Pay: $70,000 per year*
Wally the Green Monster shimmied his way onto the playing field in 1997 as the mascot for the Boston Red Sox. He was a big hit with younger fans, but adults took a little longer to warm to him. Families visiting the stadium on game day might get a free piece of Wally merch if they’re lucky.
As well as his in-house responsibilities, Wally keeps his social calendar busy with a plethora of private events. His hustle makes him somewhere in the region of $50-70,000 per year, roughly the same as your average non-costume-wearing American worker.
Team: Washington Nationals
Pay: $300 per appearance*
While The Presidents aren’t strictly mascots, they are an important part of any Washington Nationals home game. During the middle of every fourth inning, there’s The Presidents Race, when seven former presidents take to the field to battle it out for victory.
Information on the salary of these characters is hard to come by, but considering their fairly limited role it’s likely they earn between $300-$500 per appearance. The crowd always goes wild for these seven historical figures.
Team: Oklahoma City Thunder
Pay: $100,000 per year*
Rumble the Bison looks soft and strokeable, but he’s also a force to be reckoned with. Rumble is a fairly recent mascot compared to some others, debuting in 2009 when he starred as part of the half-time show at a game. He won the NBA Mascot of the Year in his first year and has had a fantastic decade, gaining more fans by the minute.
One-hour appearances cost somewhere in the region of $650, while shorter meetings start from $400. This bison certainly knows how to make a buck or two and likely rakes in somewhere in the region of $100,000 annually.
Team: Memphis Grizzlies
Pay: $300 per hour*
Grizz first made his way onto the court in 1995, when the Memphis Grizzlies were in Vancouver. In 2011, he held the title of NBA Mascot of the Year, which is the mark of any self-respecting costumed character. While he’s undeniably loved by his fans, Grizz hasn’t reached the same dizzying heights of fame as some of his contemporaries.
The furry mascot can be booked for private appearances, as long as they don’t exceed an hour. Judging by his status, Grizz probably pulls in somewhere in the region of $300 per hour for his time and expertise.
Team: Atlanta Hawks
Pay: $500 per hour*
Harry the Hawk is one busy bird. When he’s not swooping in to rally the troops at home games, he’s making between 200-300 appearances a year at private events and functions. Considering his busy schedule you might think that Harry would pull in a little more.
$500 an hour is still a great wage, but when you compare it to other mascots it seems a little meagre. Still, judging by this hourly rate, Harry is probably pulling in six figures a year – so don’t feel too sorry for the feathered flying machine.