But they do get a ticket, and often a guest ticket as well.
Gayle Laakmann McDowell
21

Sometimes. SXSW (ticket+guest day pass). WWDC (ticket). WordCamp (ticket). NICAR (no). ABI, which runs Grace Hopper, like IRE, which runs NICAR, is a 501(c)(3), so I’m willing to cut them a bit of slack.

My main concern is not that they shouldn’t comp you a ticket (damn right they should), but framing this as paying to speak makes it sound like pay-to-play, where sponsors get mic time in exchange for money, which is not what’s happening.