Challenge Invasion Finale: Where’s the money?

Allan Aguirre
4 min readMay 11, 2017


Watching CT and Ashley be crowned the Champions of Invasion was very fulfilling. We saw a deserving Champ get his second title to consolidate himself as a top 5 all time player, while we got an upstart young player who had a strong rookie season continue to develop and win on her second Challenge. My main problem with the whole finale was not the difficulty, the format, or the lame editing, it was the total amount of money given to the winners.

100k dollars is a bit weak, especially when you consider that the kids from Stranded with a Million Dollars recently won 125k dollars. While I am not trying to demean their achievements, the Challenge is one of the biggest and best reality television shows ever. The people on this show are here to win the money. They cannot get sponsor like Monster and Red Bull to up their funds? In an individual based season, the winners should get at least 150k, that’s what Wes and Jodi got for the Duel 1. For the seasons with multiple winners of each sex, it should be at least 100k. It was sad on Rivals 2 when CT only got 50k for a win that he had been trying to get for a decade.

On top of that, they should get some legitimate money for second and third place. I always love the season where 3rd or 4th place gets 0 dollars. It gives incentive to not suck in the final. However, watching 2nd place get only 15k for almost winning is heartbreaking. I’d be fine if they gave 3rd place 5k still, so it would be embarrassing when 2nd gets 50k.

The good question about the Challenge: where is the money?

I would say the simple answer is appearance fees. Evan and Kenny mentioned that Johnny Bananas got 60k dollars to show up for this season, and that he would get additional pay if he made it to the halfway point. They also said Nany was getting a year’s salary for showing up, which I am guessing is around 40k. We also know they get paid in tiers based off of appearances. So let’s take a quick time to add up how much they could be spending in only appearances.


Johnny Bananas — 14th appearance: 60,000
Chris Tamburello — 12th appearance: 60,000
Darrell Taylor — 7th appearance: 50,000
Zach Nichols — 5th appearance: 35,000
Shane Landrum — 5th appearance: 35,000
Cory Wharton — 3rd appearance: 20,000
Tony Raines — 3rd appearance: 20,000
Dario Medrano — 3rd appearance: 20,000
Nelson Thomas — 2nd appearance: 10,000
Hunter Barfield — 1st appearance: 5,000
Bruno Bettencourt — 1st appearance: 5,000
Anthony Bartolotte — 1st appearance: 5,000

Total Men Amount: $325,000

Cara Maria Sorbello — 9th appearance: 50,000
Camila Nakagawa — 9th appearance: 50,000
Laurel Stucky — 5th appearance: 45,000*
Ashley Kelsey — 2nd appearance: 20,000**
Jenna Compono — 4th appearance: 25,000
Marie Roda — 2nd apperance: 10,000
LaToya Jackson — 2nd appearance: 10,000
Amanda Garcia — 2nd appearance: 10,000
Ashley Mitchell — 2nd appearance: 10,000
Kailah Casillas — 1st appearance: 5,000
Nicole Zanatta — 1st appearance: 5,000
Sylvia Elsrode — 1st appearance: 5,000
Anika Rashaun — 1st appearance: 5,000

*I figure Laurel would get a little more for her status as a Challenge figure.
**Ashley K maybe gets more as a Champion

Total Women Amount: $250,000

Total Appearance Total: $575,000

While I am probably way off, and they most likely only get 2/3rd or even 1/2 of this type of money, it really adds up to why the Challenge money pool has not increased over the years.

The appearance money makes it easier for a good amount of competitors to return over time. Shane Landrum living in South Carolina getting a 35k check takes you a lot farther than someone in California. While we also feel the repercussion of casting, as it is cheaper to bring in a rookie than an established veteran. 3 out of the last 5 seasons Jenna was an alternate who they added to the cast last minute, they were not sure if they wanted her, and now she’s going to be paid really well. If they can find someone who does the same job for less, they will do it. That’s life.

It’s an interesting predicament we have, it’s just evident that reducing the appearance fees from here on would be rude and would get rid of a ton of vets. While it also restricts who gets cast. At least it is good to know where the money, but I wish they were playing for more money for the stakes to be raised.



Allan Aguirre

27 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.

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