Despite $56,350 cost, community happy with Fallon appearance

Jimmy Fallon’s visit to Butler University required more than dance moves and Twitter pleas to become a reality.

The total cost to the university was $56,350.

Contributions from the Student Government Association and ticket revenues paid for most of the Jan. 29 show.  The Office of Student Affairs and Clowes Memorial Hall also contributed.

Payout to the NBC late-night host was $50,000, with the remainder of the cost accrued in procedural expenses.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be free,” said Dan Schramm, SGA vice president of finance.

Fallon charged Butler significantly less than his typical college appearance fee and did not take much profit, Joshua Lingenfelter, marketing director for Clowes, said.

“Because Jimmy came out with an entire team of writers and gave up an entire schedule for the evening, nobody was really making any money,” Lingenfelter said.  “That was a lot of people who came in and donated their time because they really wanted to do it.”

Prior to performing in the sold-out “Jimmy Fallon and Friends” show, Fallon told The Collegian that he was swayed by the YouTube video featuring Butler students doing the “Come Back Jimmy Dance.”

The breakdown within SGA saw $20,000 come from the Podium Expressions committee and $5,000 from the Late Nite committee.

Program Board, Finance Board, Public Relations Board, Operations Board and the Council on Presidential Affairs combined to cover another $8,000.

Student Affairs put $5,000 toward the stand-up comedy event.  Clowes, the host venue, handled the contracts, equipment, labor and scheduling.

Ticket revenues covered the roughly $18,000 remaining in the cost, Lingenfelter said.

Mary Ann Huser, office manager of the PuLSE Office, said payment has already been processed.

Students campaigned eagerly for Fallon to return to Butler for the first time since 2001, often attaching the hashtag #JimmyBackToButler to their tweets.

“That brought him here,” freshman marketing major Kashton Foley said.  “He likes to have a lot of fans.”

But freshman finance major Nick McInally said Fallon might not be completely forthcoming.

“The money’s nice,” McInally said.  “He realizes he’s going to get a lot of good publicity.”

The office of Peter Levine, Fallon’s agent at the Creative Artists Agency, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Realizing the host of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” would be in Indianapolis the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVI, Fallon’s representatives contacted Butler administrators in December to express interest in scheduling an event.

Vice President for Student Affairs Levester Johnson met with Irene Stevens, dean of student life, and members of the PuLSE Office to discuss logistics.

“Everyone agreed it was a relevant and very good student program,” Jen Agnew, assistant director of the PuLSE Office, said.
Clowes officials then negotiated compensation and other details.

On Jan. 6, SGA executives received notification of the price and agreed to meet the cost necessary for Fallon to appear.

“If it was exorbitant, we wouldn’t have done it,” Schramm said, “and $50,000 didn’t seem unreasonable.”

The show ran for about an hour and 45 minutes, as opposed to the 45-minute length Fallon initially proposed.

In addition to promoting the Butler brand, Lingenfelter said the event helped establish relationships between the university and people in network television.

“You can’t put a price tag on those things,” he said.

Agnew said social media is what ultimately enticed Fallon.

“I’m really proud of the students’ role,” she said.  “We wanted him to come back to our school.  He wanted to come back to our school.

The Super Bowl gave us that opportunity to come together.”

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