Musical acts such as Lil Wayne, Matchbox 20 and the Zac Brown Band can charge over $200,000 for a college appearance, according to prettypolly.com.
Rutgers University came under fire recently for paying reality star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi $32,000 for a campus appearance– $2,000 more than the University paid to host Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison and $10,000 more than the annual in state tuition.
The cost of celebrity appearances, comedy shows and concerts can be astronomical, but colleges around the country still shell out big bucks to book these acts. Colleges are also expected to reduce ticket prices for students, which diminishes returns.
Julia Sutton, a member of the Student Union Board and Student Activities Office at the University of Notre Dame, said booking acts to play on a college campus is a challenge.
“I can say that Universities do not receive any discount, and often artists are reluctant to play college shows,” Sutton said.
This year’s major campus concert at Notre Dame features O.A.R. and Chiddy Bang. Tickets are $15 for students.
“We’ve spent months calling around and attempting to book this concert,” Sutton said.
Although Sutton could not release the exact amount Notre Dame paid to host these acts, according to prettypolly.com, Chiddy Bang charges between $15,000 and $20,000 per appearance.
In addition to the main annual concert, Legends, the nightclub on the Notre Dame campus, hosts free concerts and comedy shows regularly and sponsors the B1 Block Party at the beginning of the school year, whose tickets cost $10.
Acts that play free concerts in Legends, such as Hawthorne Heights, Fastball and Super Mash Bros, range in price from $10,000 to $20,000, while this year’s Block Party headliner, Guster, charges between $30,000 and $40,000, according to pretypolly.com.
Cornell University hosted big name acts such as Kid Cudi, M.I.A. and Phoenix earlier this year. Lupe Fiasco and K’naan will also be coming to Cornell on April 17th. Tickets for these shows cost Cornell students $20 and non-students $35.
According to prettypolly.com, Kid Cudi charges between $55,00 and $60,000 per appearance; M.I.A. charges between $75,000 and $100,000; and Lupe Fiasco charges between $50,000 and $60,000.
Christina Eng, a freshman at Cornell University, attended the M.I.A. and Phoenix concerts and said they were enjoyable but not staples of her freshman year.
“It’s cool to say I saw so-and-so in concert, but, other than that, it doesn’t make or break the freshman experience,” Eng said.
Eng said she especially enjoyed the free Super Mash Bros concert held in the first few weeks of school.
“It was around orientation week, so it was a good way to meet new people and go with your new friends to something that was cool and you didn’t have to pay for,” Eng said.
Eng said paying $60,000 to book Kid Cudi is not the same as paying $32,000 to host Snooki.
“She doesn’t have anything to say, first of all. She hasn’t been influential in any way,” Eng said about the pint-sized reality star. “It doesn’t add any value. I’m not saying concerts are any better, but at least they bring unity to the school and better entertainment, and there’s actually some talent being displayed.”
Cornell University’s annual Slope Day will bring Nelly, Ra Ra Riot, and the Cool Kids to campus on May 6th, and tickets are free for Cornell students. According to prettypolly.com, Nelly charges over $125,000 per appearance while both Ra Ra Riot and the Cool Kids go for $10,000 each.
Eng said she does not view Slope Day as a poor investment.
“Slope Day for us is our one main event. Every year it’s the one big thing university-wide,” Eng said. “The fact that Cornell spends their money on an act for Slope Day is not a waste of money. It goes towards the entire University because everyone goes.”