Thursday, January 07, 2010

Coach's Corner "Contracts" by Brian Tramel

Contract: An agreement between two or more parties, especially one that is written and enforceable by law.

----My first edition of Coach’s Corner this year, I want to touch on a subject that has become passing across my desk the last few weeks. Apparently two companies in this area have offered contracts to performers and even included some exclusivity for the talent to stay with a certain company. Or stay away from other companies. And since I find this both stupid and smart, I had to write on it.

----First, let me state, that no one from either company has called me and said, “Hey we are offering contracts.” And actually no worker from either company has told me this – so don’t go through your dressing rooms looking for a spy. I know this from people that know people – it is hearsay and I am going with it as commentary. So, just for the sake of this story, let’s just go with the old comic mark thing “What if?” and go with it as fact.

----First, STUPID!!! How can a company offer or demand the workers to sign a contract in the condition professional wrestling is in this area?? How will the guys benefit from something like this?? And, honestly, I do know there are promoters out there that make little or NO money, but if it was any other business would you continue to put money in it when it is failing?? That is where you get the hobby thing going and well, that is another column all together. The boys benefit how in signing a contract that says I will work for you only, keep my mouth shut about inner workings [aka don’t tell BT] and I will show up to do x-amount of shows? Is that a valid thing to sign?? It sounds real one sided when it comes to the promotion/wrestler aspect. Why would you limit a wrestler from working more than one promotion?? Or actually saying he cannot work for a certain promotion?? Especially when most groups run just 52 shows a year. The most would be a group like IWA, who runs [with TV] over 60 shows a year. If you are getting paid a DVD [that joke never gets old] or working for $5 from a shady [not Jamie – that one never gets old] promoter, then how is it going to benefit you to have them say you can only work – here and not there??

----Second, SMART!! Yes, smart in a sense if the contract is to benefit both parties, then it can help you on any level. Let’s say I am the promoter, I am running over 60 shows a year. I want a performer at ALL of them, but I also don’t want him out there whoring himself out at the backyard show jobbing. As a worker, then I am guaranteed a certain amount of dates for a certain amount of money. Yes, you as a worker should make sure that it benefits you. That is where the smart part of this comes in and it can be a good thing. If you are only going to work for one promotion, then you must figure in the dates you will lose from not working other promotions. If you sign that contract, then you should ask for more money guaranteed, since they are asking for you to perform for just them. So say you are getting $25 per date now, and then you should at least get a free DVD and an extra 40% more money. If the promotion is doing TV, then a contract really might even be a smarter thing to do for the promotion – if you are a star there and get jobbed at the $5 place, then why would they want to use you?? If they are paying for TV they are investing something in you and it would be only smart for them to ask for you not to make yourself look bad.

----All and all, the contract can either be stupid or smart for the promotion/worker. Never sign anything without reading it first. Make sure that both parties are going to benefit. I suggest a short term – 3 months of dates with a guarantee amount of money total. And remember, promoter and worker – you sign the agreement – it is considered law abiding and that means – someone could take you to court to make you uphold your end of the deal.