It’s the word that sends chills down the spines of professional speakers…exposure. Well, apparently it’s not just speakers who are being asked to pay for play, but now the NFL is asking their half-time artists to pay for exposure too. The multi-million dollar entity hasn’t paid half-time performers up to this point, but now they are actually even asking them to pay for the opportunity to perform, stating that the exposure the artists get is worth cold hard cash, and they want a piece of it.

It’s known that the NFL doesn’t pay performers, but now they say that they want to profit from the post Super Bowl tours the artists go on after appearing on the most watched sporting event in America. This is drawing a chilly response from Katy Perry, Coldplay, and Rihanna, the three artists who have been contacted. It isn’t known whether the NFL will go outside of those picks and find an artist willing to agree to the terms.

Professional speakers have been going through a similar situation in the past few years. I recently spoke to a meeting planner who said, not only did they not pay speakers, but the speakers had to come up with brand new material just for the conference, then they had to spend time working to customize it, pay all of their own expenses, pay for the registration for the conference, no selling from the stage, no book selling, no sponsorship, and no networking. I thought it was a joke.

Not only was I told that it wasn’t a joke, but that they have professional speakers lined up to agree to whatever terms they lay out, including sweeping the floor after their speech. Okay, so it didn’t go that far. But where does it end? It looks like as long as speakers and artists are willing to pay to play that the trend will continue.

Have you been asked to pay to speak, and what are your thoughts on the topic?



2 Responses to “Professional Speakers Asked to Pay For Play”

  1. Mark Grimm says:

    I guess there are two ways to look at it. If you have to pay, but the appearance leads to more work, exceeding what you paid, than you might consider it a good investment. However, I also think you have value in what you do and should expect to be compensated for it. Paying lessens the market value for all of us.

  2. Don Stover says:

    Some well known speakers, teachers and evangelists rent a venue in order to present their workshop, seminar, conference or message. They pay for the use of the venue and may or may not sell tickets to the event. So they “pay to play.” Yet when speakers promote themselves they seek to disseminate their message, increase their popularity and get paid for it. One of the major concerns is whether the speaker is the entertainment, the knowledge giver or the teacher. In those cases they should as a matter of course be paid, in the same way we expect to pay for other professional services like medical or automotive.
    If I am a good or great speaker addressing an appropriate audience part of my process would be getting referrals at every speaking opportunity. Seems like the right thing to do.

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