Ted Giannoulas. David Raymond. Do these names ring a bell? Probably not. However, it is likely that you will recognize them by their alter egos, The Famous San Diego
Chicken and the Philly Fanatic, two of the most famous SPORTS MASCOTS who are known for representing their respective teams with great enthusiasm. Whether in professional, semi-professional or college leagues, mascots play a big role in getting a crowd fired up. It is not always a spectacular play that gets people on their feet. It is often the antics of the mascot that keep people interested and involved in the game.
Professional mascots perform in front of huge audiences. They are constantly cheering, dancing and performing acrobatics. Mascots are seen interacting with fans as they walk around with their escorts at stadiums and arenas during a game. They may be taking photographs, shaking hands, signing autographs, or giving away promotional gifts. Mascots often make special appearances in the community or around the country as well. By being so available to the public, mascots help teams appeal to a wide variety of fans.
Although mascots are especially popular with young children, many adults also seem to be fascinated with them. It may be the silly costumes, funny skits, or sheer energy that amuses fans. Whatever the reason, audiences are captivated by these men (and a few women) who put on a heavy animal suit to come out and entertain them day after day.
One of the most important things a person considering becoming a SPORTS MASCOT should have, is an interest in the sport itself. Then they should have the desire to get others excited about the game they love. SPORTS MASCOTS should be able to convey messages and excitement through the use of nonverbal skit techniques. They should also understand comic theater since a large part of their jobs will be making people laugh. Individuals interested in this career must have the ability to interact with people, especially children, because they will be working closely with the fans. Stamina, physical fitness, dedication, the ability to wear heavy costumes and withstand high temperatures are very important in this job. Spontaneity, energy, creativity, improvisational skills, and athletic knowledge are also needed.
The training required for a professional SPORTS MASCOT varies from one organization to another, although employers may look for certain skills. Often people interested in becoming a mascot will be trained professionals in acting, dancing, communications, or acrobatics. They may also have gained more informal training by being a college gymnast or cheerleader, a member of a local comedy troop, or having been a college mascot. Having experiences in these areas will help as they are interacting with fans, or performing dances or skits. Employers may also require that their mascots attend clown college in order to learn such things as how to clap, walk in a heavy costume and deal with crowds.
Pay varies from semi-pro to minor leagues where pay is often hourly. Most mascots in these leagues may average about $30,000 annually. In the major leagues (NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB), top salaries are in the low six figures and may include compensation for special appearances which range from $300-$700 for working a one to two hour event.
Data on the job outlook for SPORTS MASCOTS is not collected by government sources at this time. For this reason, it is not possible to make an accurate prediction for this specific position. However, it is probably safe to say that openings for big league SPORTS MASCOTS is not expected to grow in the next few years. One reason is because most mascots stay on the job for years. Another reason is because some of the major leagues are beginning to consolidate their leagues (dismantle franchises) rather than expand them. Positions for understudies who serve as mascots at special appearances or substitutes when the top mascot is unable to perform will provide about the same number of openings.