Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a beloved tradition of many, but have you ever wondered how much corporations have to shell out to sponsor your favorite inflatable friend? Turns out, a whole lot. According to CBS, companies wishing to enter a new balloon into the parade have to cough up $190,000, about $100,000 of which just goes to constructing it. After that initial cost, they pay Macy’s about $90,000 annually to get their float in the parade lineup. Those fancy floats, like the one Santa sits on and Gwen Stefani pre-taped her performance from, will set you back even more. Like, up to $2.6 million.
If those numbers seem insane (and they definitely do!), consider the fact that the parade costs between $11.6 million and $13.4 million a year to produce, including property taxes, supplies, staff salaries, and a whole lot of helium. In fact, the biggest balloons can cost as much as $510,000 to fill.
But with over 50 million viewers annually (for perspective, that’s way more than Game 2 of the 2017 World Series but slightly less than the final presidential debate in 2016), companies apparently feel the family-friendly PR is worth the massive cost. After all, if you can make a child smile with your SpongeBob SquarePants balloon, you can probably convince their parents to buy something from you, right? Definitely.