How Much Would You Pay to Hang out with a Pro Athlete?

Amber Lee@@BlamberrSports Lists Lead WriterNovember 19, 2013

How Much Would You Pay to Hang out with a Pro Athlete?

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    In the olden days it was no easy task to meet a professional athlete. You'd have to go to a game and wait around in the hope you may run into him afterward. Or haul your buns to the middle of East Bumfrick, Nowhere, for NFL training camp. 

    Well, those days are long gone. No longer do you have to wait in line at some memorabilia show for hours and then pay for the privilege of an athlete scribbling his name on a headshot which, by the way, you probably had to pay for too. 

    These days all you need is internet access and a few bucks in your bank account and Thuzio.com can provide you with a personalized athlete "experience." That sounds expensive, and it definitely can be, but you'd be surprised at how affordable some experiences are. 

    Athlete experiences run the price gamut from budget busters to bargain basement clearance. There's something for almost every budget.

     

Participation Medal Level Experience: Oliver Darden

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    Thuzio

    Video Message: $99
    Lunch or Dinner: $250
    Attend a Game: $500
    Celebration/Appearance/Hear Their Story: $500
    Corporate Outing: $750
    Speaking Engagement: $2,500

    The pricing of former Indiana Pacer Oliver Darden makes a lot of sense, considering I put his name into Google and they suggested "Olive Garden" was probably what I meant to type. Also, there's no photo available.

    If you want to go for value and get your money's worth with Darden, I'd take him out to a game and then out for dinner. You could probably get him to tell his story at a discount—what else are you gonna talk about for 90 minutes?

    Book Oliver!

Participation Medal Level Experience: Alana Blahoski

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    Thuzio

    Video Message: $99
    Lunch or Dinner: $150
    Fantasy Draft/Pick-Up Game: $150
    Attend a Game/Round of Golf: $300
    Celebrations/Appearance/Hear Their Story: $300
    Corporate Outing: $500
    Speaking Engagement: $500-$1,500
    Coaching/Camp Coaching: $150/$500

    Alana Blahoski won gold as a member of the U.S. women's hockey team at the 1998 Winter Olympics. Always pretty cool to hang with a gold medalist—right?

    Blahoski's time is a bargain, so why stop at one experience? You could take her to lunch, do your fantasy hockey draft together, play a pick-up game of street hockey and finish the day with dinner!

    That'll only cost you $600, plus the cost of meals. 

    Book Alana!

Participation Medal Level Experience: Keith Henderson

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    George Rose/Getty Images

    Video Message: $99
    Lunch or Dinner: $250
    Fantasy Draft/Pick-Up Game: $250
    Attend a Game/Round of Golf: $500
    Celebrations/Appearance/Hear Their Story: $500
    Corporate Outing: $750
    Speaking Engagement: $2,500
    Coaching/Camp Coaching: $250/$750

    Keith Henderson was a running back for the 49ers in 1989, one of their many Super Bowl seasons, and played alongside Hall-of-Famers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. He was also a pretty big deal at UGA. 

    With Henderson, you have to go for the "hear their story" experience. Then you're gonna want to make it clear that you don't want to hear his story, but rather some inside scoop on Joe Montana from back in the day. 

    Actually, he should make that an option and charge extra. "Hear Joe Montana and Jerry Rice gossip."

    Book Keith!

Participation Medal Level Experience: John Rocker

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Video Message: $99
    Book Signing: $300
    Lunch or Dinner: $500
    Fantasy Draft/Play Baseball/Round of Golf: $500
    Attend a Game/Celebrations/Appearance/Hear Their Story: $800
    Speaking Engagement: $2,000
    Corporate Outing: $2,500
    Private Coaching/Group Coaching: $125/$200 per hour

    Not really much of a surprise to learn that the going rate to spend time with noted jag John Rocker isn't particularly high. Some people would pay $500 just to keep him away. 

    Considering he's already on clearance, there's some value to be had here. Rocker charges $200 per hour for group coaching, which means you and some friends could pool your money and hold him captive for a full day.

    Book John!

Bronze Level Experience:

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    Jeff Golden/Getty Images

    Video Message: $99
    Lunch or Dinner: $500
    Attend a Game/Pick-Up Game: $750/$500
    Celebration/Appearance/Hear Their Story: $1,000
    Corporate Outing: $1,500
    Speaking Engagement: $1,000-$3,000
    Private Coaching/Camp Coaching: $200 per hour/$1,500 for the day

    Temryss Lane is a retired professional soccer player who once played for the Damallsvenskan, a Swedish women's professional soccer league. She now works as a presenter/host for Fox Soccer Channel. 

    Ms. Lane is a pretty good looking lady, so I'm thinking the best value experience buy would be the celebration. She could tag along with you to a bar/bat mitzvah, a wedding or even an anniversary party. 

    But if you're a man, I would suggest you not bring her to your own wedding or anniversary party. Just a thought.

    Book Temryss!

Bronze Level Experience: Steve Weatherford

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    Handout/Getty Images

    Pick-Up Game: $1,750
    Hear His Story: $1,750
    Lunch or Dinner/Appearance: $2,250
    Fantasy Draft/Attend a Game/Celebration: $2,250
    Speaking Engagement: $2,750
    Round of Golf: $3,250
    Lessons/Coaching: $1,750

    NFL punter Steve Weatherford played for the New York Giants team that won Super Bowl XLVI. He tied the league record for the most punts inside the 20-yard line with 42 in 2010. 

    There aren't really any value buys here unless you're really into punting. Weatherford is a pretty good looking man though, so maybe book him to attend your high school reunion with you?

    Book Steve!

Bronze Level Experience: Phil Bourque

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Video Message: $99 
    Lunch or Dinner: $1,250
    Appearance: $1,500
    Round of Golf: $1,875
    Speaking Engagement: $2,000-$5,000

    Phil Bourque is the color analyst for the Pittsburgh Penguins local radio broadcast and was a member of the Pens teams that won two consecutive Stanley Cups in the early 90s. 

    As a member of those teams he played with all-time greats like Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Paul Coffey, Larry Murphy, Joe Mullen, Ron Francis, Mark Recchi, Bryan Trottier and Kevin Stevens. 

    You want to get Bourque out on the golf course and menace him with questions all afternoon. Also ask him about his distant cousin Ray Bourque. (His distant cousin according to Wikipedia)

    Book Phil!

Bronze Level Experience: Rick Barry

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Video Message: $99
    Lunch or Dinner: $1,500
    Dinner - 3 hours: $2,000
    Attend a Game: $2,000
    Round of Golf: $2,500
    Appearance: 5,000
    Fly Fishing Trip: Request a Price 
    Private Lesson: $1,500 per hour

    Retired NBA player Rick Barry is, according to his Thuzio bio, "considered to be one of the greatest pure small forwards of all time." I have no reason to doubt him. 

    Those are just some of the things you can book Barry to do. He's got so many experiences available, I'm pretty sure he'd come over and babysit your dog if the price was right. 

    Personally, I'd go for the fly fishing trip. Start really low with the bid and work your way up. Who knows, maybe he'll be super bored and accept your first offer. 

    Book Rick!

Silver Level Experience: Tiki Barber

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    Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    Video Message: $99
    NYC Lunch: $500
    Lunch Outside of NYC/Dinner: $1,000
    Game Watch: $1,000
    Round of Golf: $2,000
    Flag Football/Celebrations: $2,000
    Appearance: $4,000

    Considering he's one of the brains behind Thuzio, former Giants running back Tiki Barber is one of the cheapest "big name" athletes on the site. Probably because nobody likes him. 

    I'm thinking the way to go with Barber is a "game watch" experience. That gives you 3-4 hours to ask him uncomfortable questions about why he retired when he did and his ill-fated attempt at a comeback. 

    Just a note: If you want to watch the Super Bowl with Barber, increased rates may apply. That's probably based on demand, meaning they probably won't apply

    Book Tiki!

Silver Level Experience: Kevin Youkilis

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    Winslow Townson/Getty Images

    Video Message: $99
    Lunch or Dinner: $3,600
    Round of Golf/Paintball: $3,600
    Appearance: $6,250
    Private/Group Coaching: $1,250/$2,500

    Kevin Youkilis played 10 seasons in MLB as a member of the Red Sox, White Sox and later the Yankees. He was a member of both the 2004 and 2007 World Series Championship teams in Boston. 

    There's no question here—you have to go with the paintball. The fact that it's on here at all means that Youk is probably pretty good at it. He'd be the ultimate ringer. 

    Plus, he's pretty intimidating just to look at. Your enemies will be running in terror all afternoon.

    Book Kevin!

Silver Level Experience: Eric Berry

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    Handout/Getty Images

    Lunch or Dinner: $2,000
    Fantasy Draft/Pick-Up Game: $2,000
    Attend a Game/Round of Golf: $3,000
    Celebrations/Appearance/Hear Their Story: $4,000
    Corporate Outing/Speaking Engagement: $5,000
    Coaching/Camp Coaching: $2,000/$5,000

    Most of the athletes on Thuzio are retired, some retired a very very long time ago. Chiefs safety Eric Berry—the highest paid safety in NFL history—is one noteworthy exception. 

    Either he's really good at financial planning and worrying about his future, or he's really bad at financial planning and already hurting for money. 

    Whatever the case may be, the best bet here has to be book Berry for your fantasy draft. You could make like The League and really turn that mother out. Berry could be your good luck charm. 

    Book Eric! 

Silver Level Experience: Mike Milbury

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Lunch or Dinner: $4,000
    Fantasy Draft: $4,000
    Attend a Game/Celebrations/Hear Their Story: $5,000
    Corporate Outing/Appearance: $5,000
    Speaking Engagement: $3,500-$6,500
    Coaching: $2,000

    Mike Milbury played 12 seasons for the Boston Bruins, served as the head coach and general manger for the New York Islanders and is currently an analyst for NESN, Hockey Night in Canada and NBC Sports. 

    Considering Milbury is generally thought of as one of the worst GMs of the last 50 years, you probably want to keep him far away from your fantasy draft. He's kind of loathsome as a human being too, so socializing is out. 

    The best value here is probably taking him someone (a game or corporate outing) where you have a lot of enemies. Milbury might get agitated, freak out and beat the hell out of someone with his own show. 

    Book Mike!

Gold Level Experience: Caron Butler

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    Gary Dineen/Getty Images

    Lunch or Dinner/Fantasy Draft: $3,700
    Attend a Game/Celebrations: $5,000
    Appearance/Hear Their Story: $5,000
    Corporate Outing: $7,000
    Coaching/Camp Coaching: $3,700/$7,000

    Caron Butler currently plays small forward for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was a first round draft pick in 2002 and a member of the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks in 2011.

    And he owns six Burger King restaurants across the United States! 

    Honestly, he sounds like a pretty successful business man off the court with all those BKs, so perhaps he'd be best served as the guest of your upcoming corporate outing. 

    Book Caron!

Gold Level Experience: Greg Olsen

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Celebrations: $7,500
    Appearance: $7,500
    Hear Their Story: $7,500
    Corporate Outing: $11,250

    Considering Greg Olsen has been a wholly mediocre tight end in the NFL since being drafted in 2007, it's surprising his time is so valuable. His best season (by far) was with the Panthers in 2012, with 843 yards receiving. 

    The only way you're going to get your money's worth is by bringing Olsen to a celebration of some sort and passing him off as an old friend. Just make sure you come up with a really rich backstory to make it believable. 

    Book Greg! 

Gold Level Experience: Ed Belfour

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    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Video Message: $99 
    Lunch or Dinner/Pick-Up Game: $6,250
    Appearance: $10,000
    Speaking Engagement: $10,000-$12,500
    Round of Golf: $12,500

    Retired NHL goalie Ed Belfour played most of his 17 seasons in the league with the Blackhawks and Stars. He won a Stanley Cup with the Stars and an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada. 

    Belfour was a pretty good goalie in his day, but he was an even better partier. The best way to spend your money here would be on a dinner and hope you can get some stories out of him. 

    Or maybe create stories of your own if you can convince him to go on a bender with you.

    Book Ed! 

Gold Level Experience: Gary Payton

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Pick-Up Game: $12,500 per hour
    Appearance: $12,500 per hour

    Nine time All-Star Gary Payton was a member of the 2006 NBA Champion Miami Heat, a decade after he was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year as a member of the SuperSonics. 

    You're not going to find any cheapies here; with Payton you're gonna have to go big, or go home. If you're gonna go big, I'd suggest going with the pick-up game of basketball. 

    That'd be a more informal event and he might not even charge extra for autographs. Although, he does reserve the right to do so.

    Book Gary!

Platinum Level Experience: Kenny Smith

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    Cheryl Gerber/Getty Images

    Video Message: $99 
    Lunch or Dinner: $7,000
    Appearance: $12,500
    Speaking Engagement: $15,000-$20,000

    Kenny Smith is a two-time NBA Champion who currently works as an NBA and college basketball analyst for Turner and CBS Sports. And he's supplementing his income with some seriously high priced outings. 

    Frankly, I think Smith has priced himself out of the market. If you're looking for a Smith fix, I'd recommend going with the video message. He seems pretty nice, but not that nice. 

    Book Kenny!

Platinum Level Experience: Pete Rose

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Lunch or Dinner: $8,125
    Appearance: $19,250-$25,000

    If you find it insane that anyone would pay tens of thousands of dollars to have Pete Rose grace you with his presence for no more than 60 minutes, you're not alone. Seriously, who would do that?

    That being said, having dinner with Rose and a few friends (up to four of them) in Las Vegas (at the restaurant of your choice) sounds pretty damn epic. 

    They claim he'll share stories from his career—just make sure you get your money's worth! I'd be peppering him with questions and plying him with booze for a full 90 minutes. 

    Book Pete!

Platinum Level Experience: Curt Schilling

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    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    Appearance: $22,500-$37,500
    Speaking Engagement: $30,000-$45,000
    Coaching: $15,000

    Wow. For Curt Schilling, time is definitely money. The best investment is obviously he coaching; it's the cheapest and actually offers something more than the unpleasant sound of his voice and the privilege of his company. 

    What's funny is that the coaching is for a group of 2-6 people. Which means he's concerned about getting stuck alone, giving baseball pointers to a single weirdo for up to 60 minutes. 

    Book Curt!

Platinum Level Experience: Cris Carter

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Lunch or Dinner: $10,000
    Round of Golf: $12,500
    Appearance: $15,000
    Speaking Engagement: $25,000-$30,000

    The cost of spending time with Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter is…well…extremely costly. His appearance fee is pretty hefty alone, but if you want him to utter a single word, might as well double that. 

    The best investment is probably the round of golf. It's a little more expensive than the lunch or dinner, but a round of golf is up to five hours. Just don't ask him for an autograph because—you guessed it!—that costs extra.

    Book Cris!

Platinum Level Experience: Roger Clemens

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Video Message: $99 
    Round of Golf: $20,000
    Appearance: $20,000
    Speaking Engagement Half Hour: $25,000
    Speaking Engagement One Hour: $45,000
    Group Coaching: $15,000 per hour

    Roger "Rocket" Clemens is an 11-time All Star and seven-time Cy Young award winner. Those are pretty serious credentials—despite any steroid drama—and they don't come cheap.

    For the priciest athletes, the round of golf is almost always the way to go. Every other "experience" is 30-60 minutes tops, while a round of golf can be up to five hours. 

    That's assuming you want to spend five hours with Roger Clemens. 

    Book Roger!

     

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