They come in all different shapes, sizes and colours. From giant chickens to tigers and lions, donning home-team jerseys and oversized sneakers; mascots have a long history and appeared at numerous sporting and corporate events. People love them because they’re warm, charming (despite their complete silence) and entertaining to have around. Big teams take advantage of their natural ability to reach out to their fans and interact with every demographic that you can find at a sporting event.
Historically speaking, Mascots were first used in 1867 in France. The name Mascot is actually a coined version of the French world "La Mascotte" meaning a lucky charm. The tradition of using live mascots gained popularity in the late 60’s when larger-than-life puppets were used as cute and touchable brand ambassadors. Gradually, American corporate organizations and Universities realized that mascots could offer great potential in public relations and marketing. This realization encouraged the creation of customized mascots by all sorts of companies from sports to breakfast cereal. As a result, live-action mascots are currently considered a must-have marketing tool by many MLB sports teams.
Baseball clubs have even made their mascots available for public rental, albeit at a somewhat hefty rate. Want to hire a popular MLB mascot for your upcoming event? Get acquainted with the following list of the MLB's 10 most expensive mascots.
10 Paws - Detroit Tigers - $125 per hour
Paws has been the official brand ambassador of the Detroit Tigers since 1995. For the last 18 years he has owned this coveted title and has won the hearts of many fans and corporate organizations alike. Paws is occasionally hired for office holiday parties, birthdays and community events, but prefers cheering on his home team above all else. His appearance fee is determined by the length of time requested, driving distance and the type of event. The cost of his presence starts at a rather reasonable $125 per hour. An additional $0.59 per mile is charged for events in excess of 60 miles from his residence of Comerica Park.
9 Bernie Brewer - Milwaukee Brewers - $200 per hour
Milwaukee’s moustachioed mascot, Bernie Brewer takes home a minimum of $200 per hour for private events. Interestingly, his high price tag hasn’t dampened demand for the popular mascot who is most fondly remembered for sliding down from his perch into a giant beer mug following Brewers victories. These days, Bernie is a little less of a party animal, now sliding down onto a giant home plate after Brewers home runs - and his liver thanks him for it. Bernie was created in 1970 but it was not until he reappeared from a 9-year hiatus in 1993 (the Brewers deny that he was in rehab, but we know better) that he became a popular figure throughout North America. The mascot is available for public functions courtesy of the Brewers Corporate Affairs department.
8 Billy the Marlin - Miami Marlins - $250-$300 per hour
Billy made his debut appearance some 20 years ago and has never disappointed his owners since then. The 8-foot-tall, 250 pound mascot who bills himself as a master of pantomime is revered for his unique traits that endear him to many baseball lovers. He has many fish-like characteristics with massive fins protruding from his back and a sharp, pointed mouth. Billy is available for hourly appearances at parades, birthdays, commercial events and family reunions for $300 per hour. Not a bad deal considering marlin can go for around $16 a pound.
7 Slider ($350 per hour)
Nobody's really sure what Slider is supposed to be, or what relation he has to the Cleveland Indians baseball club, but hey, beauty is only skin deep, right? In any case, with his fuscia fur, conspicuous yellow nose and shaggy eyebrows, Slider is an eye-catching mascot if there ever was one. The six-foot-tall creature is well-known for his hilarious skits and choreographed dances as well as a famous incident in which he fell off a six-foot outfield wall and tore a knee ligament. Slider is very involved in community events and is often spotted making appearances in and around Cleveland. He pockets an average of $350 per hour which is a small price considering he was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2008.
6 Fredbird - St. Louis Cardinals - $350 per hour
Fredbird’s brilliant career started in 1979 when the St. Louis Cardinals chose him to carry the team flag and entertain fans before and after home games. The 6 foot 3 inch red bird is known for his signature beak which he routinely uses to peck at fans who aren't into the game. Fredbird is also a local tv star, appearing on the weekly Cardinals Kids Club show. Although he spends the bulk of his time at Busch Stadium, he’s often available for outdoor events. His appearance fees are $150 for 30 minutes, $350 for 1 hour and $600 for two hours. The fee doubles up if he has to fly more than 50 miles from St. Louis.
5 Baxter - Arizona Diamondbacks - $400 per hour
Undoubtedly one of the scarier mascots on this list, D. Baxter the Bobcat has nevertheless managed to win over his fans with his unique looks and crazy antics since joining the team in 2000. When not busy taking care of his game-day responsibilities, the 6-foot-tall bobcat is out and about gracing public events in different parts of the country. He regularly signs autographs and poses for photos much to the delight (and sometimes terror) of young kids. One must fork out a minimum of $400 per hour to have Baxter show up for a private occasion.
4 Lou Seal - San Fransisco Giant - $500 per hour
Lou Fransisco Seal’s flip-flopping mystique and crazy sense of humour have made him an instant hit (pun intended) to many a baseball fan. The 17-year-old mascot's name references the San Fransisco Seals which played in the Pacific Coast League from 1903-1957. Lou charges $500 per hour or $350 for 30 minutes for personal events. If that's too much, the famous seal will gladly appear at your tailgate party for $100 or share your seat during a game for $75. You can also have him wish your kid a happy birthday (with gifts of course) at the game. Forbes named Lou the best mascot in sports in 2008.
3 Mariner Moose - Seattle Mariners - $600 per hour
Since his debut some 23 years ago, the Mariner Moose mascot has made thousands of appearances in the community and at Mariners home games. With time, he has developed into one of the most beloved mascots in the MLB - just look at that face! The Moose gained most national attention when he crashed into the outfield wall, breaking his ankle after being towed on roller blades behind an ATV. He fully recovered from his injury and was also nominated for the 2006 and 2007 for the Mascot Hall of Fame. According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, the Mariner Moose will cost about $600 an hour for corporate events and birthday parties, but the prices go down significantly for charity events. The Moose regularly goes to local hospitals to cheer up sick children.
2 Mr. Mets - New York Mets - $600 per hour
If you’re an ardent baseball fan, then you know Mr. Met, the baseball-headed mascot who wears a Mets cap and uniform. The kid-friendly humanoid has been around since 1962 and stands tall as the most experienced and well-respected MLB mascot of all time. So popular is Mr. Met that his face graces the surface of 1, 5 and 10 dollar gift certificates (a la George Washington) that are accepted at Mets home games. It’ll cost you a lot more than that to have Mr. Met as a guest of honour at your upcoming event. Charges may vary around $600 depending on the type of appearance and distance from his official residence of Citi Field.
1 Phillie Phanatic - Philadelphia Phillies - $600 per hour
No one knows how to liven up his fans better than the cylindrical-beaked Phillie Phanatic. The large, green creature literary eats, drinks and sleeps baseball. Although he spends most of his time at Citizens Bank Park, Phanatic is often available for public events. The mascot has developed a style and a personality that transcend the Philadelphia Phillies' own fanbase. In fact he has regularly been referred to as the world’s best Mascot. This partly explains why he is the most expensive furry creature on the market today. His die-hard fans are often willing to pay as much as $1000 per hour just to have him make a guest appearance at their events. The minimum price one should expect to pay for the Phanatic is $600 per hour.