For some celebrities, sipping champagne and being seen at a Las Vegas club this New Year’s Eve will earn them a larger paycheck than their actual jobs headlining television series, reality shows or concert tours. Some are expected to bring home upwards of half a million dollars for a few hours partying on the Strip.
It’s a price club owners are willing to pay. Having the right celebrity pose on a red carpet or bounce around a dance floor can mean the difference between a club’s profitability or perfunction.
“If they are big stars, they draw crowds,” said Steve Beyer, president of Steve Beyer Productions, a Las Vegas talent agency and production company that books celebrity appearances. “The casinos and the club owners make sense of it. They determine ticket cost, the number of seats in a venue and the potential profit, and use that to negotiate fees.”
Some of the biggest names in entertainment are hosting New Year’s Eve parties on the Strip this year. Black Eyed Peas starlet Fergie will headline a bash at the brand new 1 OAK at the Mirage .
Clubs owners typically hire celebrities who reflect the feel of their establishments. LAX at Luxor is known for its hip-hop nights and will welcome rapper B.o.B. this New Year’s Eve.
Marquee at the Cosmopolitan has become an electronic music hot spot and will host Kaskade,a leading DJ.
Owners are loathe to discuss the financial details of such deals. None would reveal how much stars will be paid. But rates for A-listers can soar into the hundreds of thousands of dollars on a regular Saturday night, and clubs pay an even heftier premium on New Year’s Eve.
“The fees are anywhere from double to skyrocketing depending on the act and how popular they are,” Beyer said.
On a typical night, Kardashian earns about $75,000 to grace a venue. A reality star like Mike “the Situation” Sorrentino nets about $25,000. But those numbers jump on holidays. At the height of their fame in the mid-2000s, Paris and Nicky Hilton earned $500,000 for ushering in the New Year at LAX. Britney Spears reportedly raked in $350,000 for hosting New Year’s Eve 2007 at Pure.
Successful clubs consider the expense part of the cost of doing business.
Hiring the right star typically pays for itself, with dividends. The New York Times estimated that a $25,000 appearance by the Jersey Shore’s Snooki brought in an additional $259,406 in revenue for LAX.
Celebrities attract crowds, plain and simple. They also draw paparazzi and can result in lucrative publicity for a club if photos from an event wind up in gossip magazines. Showing potential customers, especially those from quieter communities, that Fergie or Drake hangs out at a joint adds instant coolness and credibility to a club’s brand. Demand, in turn, soars.
“Kim Kardashian has always been a great host for us in the past,” Tao Group partner Jason Strauss explained. “The crowd goes wild the second she gets in the vicinity of the club, and she is always gracious with her fans, taking photos and going out of her way to greet them. She is on television almost every day and has nearly 12 million followers on Twitter, which creates an incredible fan base.”
Bigger crowds result in larger bar tabs and more expensive cover charges. A front-of-the-line pass to Pure at Caesars Palace’s, for example, runs $40 to $60 most weekends, significantly cheaper than the $150 it costs for a general admission ticket to Chris Brown’s New Year’s Eve party there.
Admission to Kardashian’s fete costs $200.
Throw in bottle service, and the prices shoot into the thousands. Tables for 14 for Fergie’s end-of-the-year performance at 1 OAK run $13,750 — and they are sold out.