Rival Texas schools Navarro College and Trinity Valley Community College each were paid $30,000 for their participation in the second season of Netflix’s “Cheer,” a price that was set in the initial location fee agreement between Navarro and the show’s production company before “Cheer” became a smash-hit streaming sensation.
As first reported by Variety‘s sister site Sportico, “In 2018, Navarro signed a deal with a production company in which the school agreed to be paid $30,000 for the rights to film a season of a then-untitled cheerleading documentary, according to a copy of the rights agreement obtained by Sportico.”
The pact has a built-in exclusive option for “Cheer” producers to renew at the same $30,000 fee each year for five additional academic years, giving the production company “exclusive rights to film and exploit the Cheerleading Athletics as part of the Series” during the contract’s term period.
“Everybody thinks we made a million dollars off of the show, and as you can see from the contract, we did not,” Stacie Sipes, Navarro’s director of marketing and public information, told Sportico.
Sipes says that Navarro hasn’t seen its student body increase based on the popularity of Netflix’s Emmy-winning “Cheer,” which launched just before the pandemic and features Navarro’s head cheer coach, Monica Aldama, and her team.
“We have had declining enrollment,” Sipes told Sportico. “I could probably name four or five students that we heard came here because they heard about our college [through ‘Cheer’]… As Monica and I have both said previously: We were hoping not to get fired. We just wanted to have a really good show produced about her program; we never really thought about having people flocking to our school.”
Navarro signed a merchandise rights license deal with Netflix in September 2020, entitling them to 50% of sales for any consumer goods the streaming service sold with the school’s name and logo, though Sipes says Navarro has not made any money off of this agreement, which goes through mid-2023, yet.
“Cheer” Season 2 debuted Jan. 12. The season follows the Navarro cheer team’s rivalry with Trinity Valley Community College, as well as the fallout from the child pornography charges brought against former team member Jerry Harris.
Boardwalk Pictures executive vice president Dane Lillegard, who signed the rights deal with Navarro on behalf of Greenway Pictures, declined Variety‘s request for comment on the financial terms. A representative for Netflix did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.