NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Walking a high wire over Niagara Falls isn’t only a dicey proposition, it turns out it’s pretty pricey, too.
Daredevil Nik Wallenda estimates his history-making, U.S.-to-Canada walk by way of a cable strung over the brink will cost about $1.2 million to $1.3 million.
A deal with ABC to televise the event live during prime time Friday will offset some of his expenses, the 33-year-old Wallenda said. “But definitely not anywhere near all of it.”
And the tab seems to grow by the day.
“The hard part is prices have changed and gone up. There are things that can come up that are just completely unforeseen,” Wallenda said by phone from Branson, Mo.,
There hasn’t been much time to line up sponsors — the date of the walk was settled only about six weeks ago — so Wallenda is asking the public for donations.
His video on the fundraising website Indiegogo had, by mid-day Tuesday, raised more than $15,300 toward a $50,000 goal.
Wallenda plans to walk 1,800 feet across the falls at 200 feet above the gorge bottom. If successful, he will be the first to cross over the brink of the famous falls. Others have crossed over the gorge downstream but not for more than 100 years.
Wallenda has agreed to pay Canadian authorities $105,000 for things like extra security, crowd control, fencing and portable toilets for the estimated 100,000 spectators. He also must supply a $50,000 letter of credit, which would be used only in the event of a water rescue, said Niagara Parks Commission Chairwoman Janice Thomson. To U.S. authorities, Wallenda paid a $5,000 permit fee and will reimburse New York state $150,000 for state police and transportation services, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said. He also was asked for a $25,000 deposit to ensure he restores the Niagara Falls park to its original condition.
Initially, Wallenda intended to practice on the same cable he’ll perform on but he couldn’t find a space in Niagara Falls large enough to string it.
Then last week, the Niagara Falls helicopter company he’d asked to fly a guide wire across the gorge, so that the actual cable can be pulled across, discovered it didn’t have the necessary Federal Aviation Administration permits for such an operation and Wallenda had to scramble to find a replacement company.
“There are things like that that come up that are completely unforeseen,” Wallenda said.