Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Straight Flush "Making The Business Profitable Again" by Pokerface

----Pokerface with a new column.

Making The Business Profitable Again

I think everywhere in wrestling, business is down, including the big leagues. I'm only going to focus on the local indy level.

I think on the independent level, promoters and the wrestlers could make a decent living again. I think one of the biggest mistakes "promoters" make, is trying to survive soley on ticket sales. I've seen it time and time again. When you do that and business is down everybody suffers. If you plan on being a company, run it like one. Most "promoters" aren't business men. They are just guys who bought a ring online, got a promoter's license, and hope they can make money.  Get sponsors. Unless you have deep pockets and have money to burn, I would never run a wrestling show or wrestling company without them. I would at least try to have enough sponsorship money to cover 50 - 75% of the expenses. 

The next  thing I would do is hire a booker. This is the guy that makes the matches and recruits. It needs to be somebody who GETS the business. Not just the boss's best friend. And he too needs to be a business man of sorts. With the a very few exceptions to the rule, the booker doesn't need to be active on the show. Like I said there are exceptions to this. The reason being the booker needs to be glued to the monitor during the  show to watch and critique the matches. 

Next step is recruit. Again, this is another instance where being a business man comes into play. Recruit the best. Not just your best friends or guys you grew up with. If I was running a show, quite a few of my friends wouldn't like me because i wouldn't hire them. When you recruit, you need to ask yourself if you would pay to see this guy or that guy. Make sure the guys look the part. By that I'm not talking about a bodybuilding contest either. What  I mean is does the wrestler look like he can fight or does he look tough. Does he have proper ring attire for what is persona is?  Is he believable in the ring? I would hire an out of shape beer drinker that can take care of business in the ring before I would hire a musclehead that moves like Frankenstein. 

Next have a set roster. You only need 12-14 guys to start with. Have a pay scale. Pay according to performance, but have a minimum pay. If you have guys who are just along for the ride and the easy pay. Get rid of them. Let everybody on your roster know that they are dispensable. Never build your company around one guy. Because if that one guy walks out or gets hurt, then you are screwed. Every company should have at least one real veteran who has worked the territories of old and can shoot or hook. Sad to say, that in this area there are maybe only  2 males in this area that can do that, from the era when there were territories that is, Motley Cruz and Luke Graham, Jr. But that's my opinion. The reason for the veterans is to teach and guide the rookies. And to humble them one way or the other if need be. 

Next step, PROMOTE! Don't just put a poster in a gas station window and hope somebody sees it and comes to the show. Make a big deal about it. Promoting and marketing should be the biggest expense of the company. Run radio ads, TV ads, work with local schools and businesses.  

Don't book "names". This is/has been done to fucking death. Unless you are going to bring in a name and he is willing to do business with one of the company's guys, don't bring him in. I worked for a company that would bring in B list wrestlers and the same amount of people showed up as if it was just the local guys on the card. It goes back again to being a business man. It doesn't justify the money your are paying out if you are bringing in the same numbers thru the door. If your attendance triples or quadruples, then that's another story. 

Don't worry about TV. At least not at first. Concentrate on getting attendance up at live events. Once you start filling the building 3 out of every 4 shows, then consider TV. If you can show a station that your business is profitable and can draw good numbers without TV exposure, they may be more prone to pay you to put on a weekly show opposed to you paying them bullshit money for a bullshit time slot 2:30 am on Sunday morning. Once you get a good TV slot, you have a better chance at getting more sponsors, If you get enough sponsors so that they are paying 100% of the expenses, everybody is happy. Because everbody is making money.Don't copy WWE. Let them do their thing. Concentrate on the presentation of your product ie... nice set up, professionally looking referees, announcers, and wrestlers. You don't need pryo technics or a million dollar production set to be sucessful. Don't believe me? Look at the old ECW .   

Every so often, do a free show. Get with Wal-mart or a mall and do a free show outside one afternoon. Give away 200 tickets. The object is to get people in the door. What you don't make in tickets, you will in concessions and merchandise. Speaking of merchandise. Get company merchandise. It helps with the professional image, plus its another source of revenue. 

I know this was a long column, but I felt it needed to be said. In summary get sponsors. Be business minded. Recruit the best. Until next time, God Bless, and keep your pimp hand strong!