10 Major Events That Cost Less Than WWDC
Apple spent a whopping $50 million on its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. $50 MILLION.
This staggering figure was recently unveiled by Phil Schiller, former head of Apple’s worldwide marketing, during his testimony at the ongoing trial of Epic Games vs. Apple, and it shook us to our core.
Yes, we know Apple is a billion-dollar company, and yes, we know they use their week-long conference to announce their shiny new gadgets (of which we’re big fans), but it’s still just. a. business. meeting. The set-up is super basic: a stage, some cameras, some speakers, and occasionally a musical guest (Weezer, Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy and Good Charlotte), but nothing so spectacular or extraordinary or life changing that the event could run up that kind of bill.
To put this in perspective, we rounded up some other extravagant events that didn’t cost nearly as much as Apple’s week-long business meeting.
10. Naomi Campbell’s 36th Birthday Party – $1.8 Million
Supermodel Naomi Campbell rented out 18 floors of Burj Al Arab, the world’s first seven-star hotel, to host her elaborate three-day birthday bash in Dubai. Each day featured a series of celebratory themed events for the OG Super Model and her high-profile guests, including David and Victoria Beckham, and Linda Evangelista. No assistants or phones were harmed at the big birthday bash.
9. Trump’s 4th of July Event – $5.4 Million
In 2019, during Donald Trump’s presidency he hosted an over-the-top 4th of July event featuring tanks, fireworks, and a military flyover at the Lincoln Memorial. He called the event “remarkable;” we call it a misuse of public funds.
8. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – $12.3 Million
This 2.5 mile parade with enormous balloons, unbelievable floats, and talented performers, dazzles crowds during the holidays each year. According to The Smart Shopper’s 2016 report, the average total cost to host the parade is between $10.4-$12.3 million. Event logistics can cost up to $3.4 million.
7. Producing “Hamilton” on Broadway – $12.5 Million
Everyone wants to be in the room where it happened. Mounting the show on Broadway took $12.5 million, or one-million-two-hundred-fifty-thousand ten-dollar bills featuring our founding father. There is nothing scrappy about the Tony Award-winning musical, which has grossed more than $1 billion in global revenue to date.
6. Jennifer Lopez & Shakira’s Super Bowl Halftime Show – $13 million
JLo and Shakira killed the Super Bowl halftime show in 2020. The 14-minute show included more than 130 dancers, 600 field team members, 5,350 pieces of pyrotechnics and some spectacular lasers. The televised performance won an Emmy Award, and resulted in millions of viewers feeling bummed out about their physical fitness and skin care regimen.
5. Opening of the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai – $31 Million
With a goal to make this resort opening one of the biggest events of the year, event designer and producer Colin Cowie and Empire Entertainment turned up the flash to throw a lavish three-day extravaganza. Powerful video projections, pyrotechnics and fireworks told the story of the Atlantis across the outer facade, ending in the largest-ever fireworks display on record–more than seven times larger than those used at the Beijing Olympic games.
4. 2021 Oscars – $40 Million
The Academy Awards wanted to go big and go live this year. All attendees were required to take three COVID tests prior to attending, but considering they received a gift bag containing approximately $225,000 worth of goodies, it feels like a fair trade to us. Plus, ya know, human interaction.
3. Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 London Olympics – $42 Million
This spectacle was called Isles of Wonder. Directed by Academy Award-winning British film director Danny Boyle, the London Olympic opening ceremonies pulled out all the stops. With a television audience of 900 million, it became the most-viewed Olympic opening ceremony.
2. Burning Man Music Festival – $44 Million
In 2018, Burning Man reported it took $44 million to produce the music festival focused on community, art, self-expression and self-reliance. The event creates a temporary city in a Nevada desert and features a 40-foot-tall burning effigy among hundreds of other elaborate art structures. Fun fact: they spend $1.4 million for sanitation services alone (aka: port-a-potties).
1. Prince Harry & Meghan Markle’s Royal Wedding – $45 Million
We watched, we wept, we drank tea at 5am. A royal wedding is more affordable than a work conference. <<<face palm>>>
Apple: give us a call. We can produce a fantastic WWDC for you with a lower price tag and so much more than a stage with a screen and some lights.