Vikings’ Mascot in Contract Dispute with Team
23 Sep, 2015
Joe Juranitch’s has spent the last 21 years entertaining Minnesota Vikings fans as Ragnar the Viking but it looks like his time as a Vikings entertainer has come to an end. A contract dispute between Juranitch and the Vikings has reportedly ended talks between the two sides as Juranitch was looking for a raise from his current rate of $1,500 per game to $20,000 per game.
Amazingly, while Juranitch’s asking price is certainly much, much higher than his previous rate, it’s not unheard of in professional sports. Juranitch’s proposed $160,000 a year ($200,000 if one includes two preseason games) deal would have put him in similar company with a select few sports mascots according to Dave Raymond, who used to work as the Philadelphia Phillies’ Phanatic.
“Performers who have been there anywhere between 10 to 20 years, who are full-time salaried performers with benefits and incentives, can earn in the six-figure range, and about 10 percent of the full-time performers are reaching that level of compensation.”
While fans of Ragnar started an online petition to keep the human mascot around, Juranitch’s asking price was simply too rich for the Vikings. The team stated that they had engaged in talks with Juranitch on several occasions without making much headway. Instead, the team released a statement saying that they planned on honoring Ragnar for his accomplishments at a home game this year.
“The Vikings greatly appreciate what Ragnar has meant to the organization and to the fans over the last two decades,” the team said. “We intend to honor his 21 seasons on the field during a 2015 Vikings home game and we will welcome him to future ceremonial events. We will always consider Ragnar an important part of Vikings history.”
The petition to get Ragnar back on the field currently has over 11,000 supporters. As for the Vikings, the team has its own more cartoonish mascot Viktor to hold down games for now.
Blog post provided by Next Impulse Sports
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