An investigation... of sorts
There’s nothing quite like an awards ceremony to show how in touch with reality you are. From dresses that cost as much per square metre as a central London flat to the insufflation of powdered Columbian herbal products, the whole concept can be summed in one word: necessary.
But how much does it cost to host your own awards ceremony, and how much profit can you extract from the distended egos of your guests? Could this be a get rich quick scheme that actually works? We at the Loud And Quiet Money Desk decided to find out.
Firstly, what will your awards be, you know, awarding? Music, film and TV are already well catered for, but it is still possible to find a niche? Ideally one that intersects self-admiration and disposable cash. You can pick whatever you like – ‘The Politician Prize’ or ‘The Rich White Guy Awards’ – but since this is a music magazine so we’d probably stick with music, and name the awards after ourselves.
Now you need a venue. Unfortunately, the local working men’s club will simply not do. Yes, you can buy a pint for less than £2, but it won’t have the requisite ‘ambience’. A good awards ceremony needs to be ostentatious, or people will think that it’s not very important at all. What we’re looking for is a place that people will think is classy but is actually rubbish – the venue equivalent of Beats headphones and staircase aquariums. In other words, something a footballer would covet. How about the Indigo Room at the O2? It’s a steal at £15,000. Catering is an additional £3,000, but unfortunately even Keith Allen needs feeding so let’s add that in.
As for the host, that’s tricky. Surprisingly, the Oscars only pay $15-25,000, because it’s considered an honour to be asked. Alas, the same cannot be said for our awards – we’re going to have to pay. I contacted agency Sternberg Clarke, who informed me that Fearne Cotton or Alan Davies would cost “upwards of £25,000”. Even Sol Campbell and Ruby Wax are £10,000 for the night. Luckily, disgraced celebrities are at a discount, and it turns out both Jim Davidson and Angus Deayton will host our awards for a mere £5,000. Result… let’s go with Angus and keep Jim in reserve.
When our prize winners take to the stage they’ll be expecting a trophy. This is where you can really squeeze the pennies, because as far as we can tell all award statues look like – and in fact are – plastic pieces of shit. Trophystore.co.uk will supply some truly tacky Oscar lookalikes for just £7.49 a pop and they’ll even engrave them with the winners’ names. Who says you can’t get a bargain in modern Britain?
Right, that’s the ceremony taken care of, so now we come to the fun bit: raking in great, hateful piles of immorally earned cash. Tickets for these fancy dos don’t come cheap – seats at the MTV Awards, for example, start at $400. As for the Oscars, attending them can cost anywhere between $150-$750 (and there’s not even a buffet).
But what about our pricing? I spoke to a ticketing expert, who told me to “use a tiered pricing structure, with temporal incentives.” In English, that means charge less for early birds and more for rich folk. So those that buy sooner will pay £125, standard is £175, and the posh nobs will hand over £250 (make sure their invites have gold lettering or something). The Indigo can seat 550, so if we sell one third of each ticket type it’s a total taking of £100,650.
Amazingly, that’s not the only way to make money from awards, thanks to sponsorship. Put simply, sponsorship allows you to align yourself with a morally repugnant company in exchange for currency. Many such companies exist so the choice is yours: gambling, smoking, payday loans, dictatorships… whatever you fancy. I put out a few feelers and frankly I didn’t hear back, but I do know that similar sized events at the Indigo have brought in £30,000, so let’s go with that.
Time for the final figures. The venue, host, catering and awards come to just over £23,000. You’ll have to print the tickets and probably hire a band (although, upsettingly, you can usually get bands to play for free if you make up an award for them to win) – let’s add another £5,000 to be on the safe side: £28,000 total. Now our ticket sales and sponsorship (minus booking fees, of course) will be around £130,000. That leaves us with a net profit of £102,000. Not bad for almost no work.
So there you have it, hosting an awards ceremony is basically dead easy and a guaranteed money earner. No one needs to know that Angus Deayton is involved until the night. All you need to do now is rent your tux… or if you’re truly committed to your profit margins, get a t-shirt with a tuxedo pattern printed on it. See you at the ceremony. I’m excited.