So you’ve decided to become a Wrestling Promoter and start your own Federation. Well, where do you begin? It’s not as easy as it looks or more people would be successful at it. First of all, there is NOT a whole lot of money in it. Most promoters loose money and some if lucky, just break even.
I’m sure your have heard the horror stories about wrestlers not getting paid after a show, or the Promoter ducking out before anyone can find him or the plane tickets never arrived. This is so common in this business that it ruins it for everyone involved.
Being a Wrestler is easy. You just have to show up. Many of the boys ask me when I’m going to run another show. Well, a few years ago, I had many and they were easier to line up. Lately I think that Wrestling has become over saturated and the interest on the Indy level has declined. Going into a building and putting up a ring and hoping people show, is way too risky. If you draw 100 people you are really lucky. The biggest problem is ‘promotion’. Letting people know you are there, is so important. If no one knows, no one shows! You need a good plan.
First of all, you must have access to Wrestlers. You need to have at least 30 on a list in case some can’t show and you need stand by matches. Plus, you should find out the reputation of your talent and see if they are reliable. You don’t want someone to commit to being there and then not show after you have advertised them.
You will need a Ring obviously. If you don’t have one, you can rent one and the price should be fair. No more than $350 for the night. You will also want to list all the people that you need to work the event.
Dressing Room Monitor (send guys out etc.)
These are basics and mostly you can get friends to do it for ‘free’ admission. The building if you rent it, should cost, no more than $500.
Liability Insurance is another thing. You don’t want to get sued by someone who gets hurt. I carry 2 Million Dollar liability. I have a blanket coverage that costs me $180.00 a year for show, training people, etc. If I have to additionally insure a venue, it’s an added $35 for the night. That is very reasonable and necessary.
Now your overhead with paying 12 wrestlers ($50) each will be around the $1200.00 mark, give or take. I haven’t figured in publicity at this point. I always make posters and flyers and leave them all over the area where I am running a show. I will also get our radio stations here to plug it. Sometimes that’s difficult but in my case I have a lot of friends that are DJs. Same with some of the local News Channels. This is just an added plus.
In order to make a profit at this point, you will need in attendance 120 people at $10 a head. Ok, it goes up from there. Also figure in that kids prices will be cheaper at maybe $6. This increases the number you need to attend.
Now, the best way to do this rather than taking a risk on a building is to find a club or charity or in my case I use a high school and get the PE Dept. to sponsor it. I ask for a $2,000 dollar deposit and then we do a 50/50 split on profits at the door. My $2000 is deducted on my 50% at that point. Having the club or school involved assures me that they will help promote by giving flyers out to every student (1000 or 2000) and that a good number of those kids will show up and bring their family and friends. Last time I did this, I had 600 people show up and it was a big success.
I give the school concessions as part of the incentive. I also tell the wrestlers to bring photos , t shirts, and anything that they want to sell.
Having that deposit also guarantees me payment for the ring, wrestlers and all other expenses and includes my profit.
At the show, I already have everyone’s payment, (in cash) in an envelope with his or her name on it. I want everyone to go home happy! I send out booking agreements and after the show I include with payment a letter of thanks for their participation. I feel it’s important to treat everyone as a professional and with respect. Having wrestled for years, I have been on all ends of that and I want everyone to know that I respect him or her.
One week prior to a show, I do a personal appearance at the school and bring a few wrestlers to a pep rally to get the school charged up to attend the event. This works really well.
I also will send a letter of thanks to the School or charity that we worked for thanking them for the help and asking to schedule another show for the following year. After doing this quite a few times, you can usually keep yourself booked throughout the whole next year.
This is a good formula to follow and it works. Remember, you just don’t throw up a ring in a building like a ‘backyard fed’ and expect it to work.
Think it through, plan it out and then work your plan.
Much success to you all!
-Ric ‘The Equalizer’ Drasin
American Wrestling Federation