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1.31.2007

Who Would You Pay To See?

Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend of mine who runs a local wrestling promotion. We got into a line of chat that I’ve had with many promoters over the years.

It’s the question of: To bring in a name, or not to bring in a name. And if you do, who?

At times, I no longer feel qualified to answer this question because I’m not the average wrestling fan. I don’t pop for the same things many people do (probably from years of being desensitized) and I certainly have different tastes.

I also haven’t PAID to go to a wrestling show in more than ten years. I’ve been to hundreds of shows over that span of time – I’ve just never had to pay. I’ve either been working at the show, covering it, or had a friend who just kicked open the back door.

So that being said, it’s hard for me to answer “Who would you pay to see?”. I would have thought that Samoa Joe coming to Ontario last month would have had a much bigger impact that he did. The Stranglehold show was fairly packed, but the other two events that Joe headlined that weekend were probably hoping for a few more tickets sold.

I watched BSE put on a show in December that featured Christian Cage and Lance Storm busting their ass in a match of the year candidate. That show had about 300 people in a relatively small venue… but if I was promoting that show, I’d be hoping for a much bigger venue.

I know the days of 5,000 people at every indy show are long gone. Televised wrestling killed that. But still, there must be something we’re missing here.

Here’s my question to you, the loyal Osters. If an indy fed in your town was running a show with a ticket price of 20 bucks… who or WHAT would you want to see?

Keep in mind, certain guys have been completely priced out of the market. I don’t know what Brock Lesnar would want but I assume it would include someone’s first born child and big barrel of bills.

Would you shell out to see your fav TNA star? An old school talent? Does the idea of attending a wrestling workshop run by marquee names appeal to you – even if you have no interest in becoming a wrestler?

Would you prefer just supporting the local guys who are trying to perfect their craft?

Fill me in folks….


8 comments: on "Who Would You Pay To See?"

Tim Haught said...

This is the current conundrum of a lot of independent promotions in my area. Unless you have a money mark running around willing to lose a hefty amount, shows simply aren't profitable when big name talent is brought in, because they don't bring in what they ask for.

A lot of promotions charge 20 dollars and bring in TNA, Super Indy, and former WWE, ECW, and WCW talent. Without a heavy mix of guys, these shows typically draw about the same number of fans that the regular local guys draw. With a heavy mix of those guys, you are shelling out a lot of money and taking a big risk.

This is probably the main reason so many promotions open and close their doors as often as they do. Lesnar, who you used as an example, would probably charge an arm and a leg, but would he really bring in enough people to cover that expense?

Most big name talents take advantage of this new breed of promoters who are atypically marks with some money to burn. They want to hob knob with the big names and feel important, so they shell out the money to get to hang out with Raven for a day. Does Raven draw enough in ticket sales to cover his expense? Most likely no.

20 dollars is a lot of money for one night of wrestling, and without an established brand name promotion with a healthy heap of talent that is known and remembered by a great number of fans, it's hard to get people to come out and spend that amount.

I would pay 20 bucks to see Randy "Macho Man" Savage, but the amount he would want a promoter to pay for him would probably require half of all the towns in this area to attend the show.

The list of names who have been through my area is extensive, but one guy alone is usually not worth the 20 dollar price tag.

There are a lot of wrestlers I would pay 20 bucks to see, but I think the greater question is, what wrestlers will people come to see for 20 bucks in a great enough number that it covers the promoters cost of bringing him in.

If Samoa Joe costs 1000 to bring in, he has to draw 50 more people than the fans that already come regularly at 20 bucks a ticket. At ten dollars, he has to draw 100, but perhaps more people can justify the ten dollar price tag and it evens out.

I can't think of anyone currently touring the indys can draw enough people by himself with a price tag of twenty dollars to still make the promoter money.

Wait a minute, you know who might be able to? Trish Stratus!

Tim Haught said...

This is the current conundrum of a lot of independent promotions in my area. Unless you have a money mark running around willing to lose a hefty amount, shows simply aren't profitable when big name talent is brought in, because they don't bring in what they ask for.

A lot of promotions charge 20 dollars and bring in TNA, Super Indy, and former WWE, ECW, and WCW talent. Without a heavy mix of guys, these shows typically draw about the same number of fans that the regular local guys draw. With a heavy mix of those guys, you are shelling out a lot of money and taking a big risk.

This is probably the main reason so many promotions open and close their doors as often as they do. Lesnar, who you used as an example, would probably charge an arm and a leg, but would he really bring in enough people to cover that expense?

Most big name talents take advantage of this new breed of promoters who are atypically marks with some money to burn. They want to hob knob with the big names and feel important, so they shell out the money to get to hang out with Raven for a day. Does Raven draw enough in ticket sales to cover his expense? Most likely no.

20 dollars is a lot of money for one night of wrestling, and without an established brand name promotion with a healthy heap of talent that is known and remembered by a great number of fans, it's hard to get people to come out and spend that amount.

I would pay 20 bucks to see Randy "Macho Man" Savage, but the amount he would want a promoter to pay for him would probably require half of all the towns in this area to attend the show.

The list of names who have been through my area is extensive, but one guy alone is usually not worth the 20 dollar price tag.

There are a lot of wrestlers I would pay 20 bucks to see, but I think the greater question is, what wrestlers will people come to see for 20 bucks in a great enough number that it covers the promoters cost of bringing him in.

If Samoa Joe costs 1000 to bring in, he has to draw 50 more people than the fans that already come regularly at 20 bucks a ticket. At ten dollars, he has to draw 100, but perhaps more people can justify the ten dollar price tag and it evens out.

I can't think of anyone currently touring the indys can draw enough people by himself with a price tag of twenty dollars to still make the promoter money.

Wait a minute, you know who might be able to? Trish Stratus!

Tim Haught said...

Sorry about the double post. I don't see the trash can to delete the second.

Anonymous said...

I'm suprised a lot of the TNA guys don't draw more people. That might speak to how poorly a job TNA does at creating stars.

Geography also plays into this, the farther away you are from a major city, the bigger the crowd you can draw.

I would pay to see Sting, Ric Flair, Honky Tonk Man, and Greg Valentine. I would pay to speak to them or be a part of a Q and A session. Throw Terry Funk in there as well.

Ben Boudreau said...

I got two words for ya...Steve Corino!

Signguy_shooter said...

You maybe right that the futher you are from a big city the better you may draw for an indy show. I live in Erie,Pa and we are about 90 miles away from Cleveland, Ohio, Pittsburgh,Pa and Buffalo, NY and we don't draw crap for indy wrestling, even WWE shows don't draw like the use to when I was younger and Hogan was active on the WWF roster. The thing is IWC in the Pittsburgh area draws good crowds, I would say on average of 300 ppl, but they usally get 2-5 wrestlers form TNA on their shows and somethime former WCW,ECW and WWE stars like Mick Foley. In Erie we are lucky to draw a 100 ppl at indy shows, even when our one local promotion had AJ styles and Tracy Smothers on the same card we maybe had a crowd of 100 ppl. They same is true when IWC came to Erie with Petey Williams, Chris Sabin, AJ Styles, New Jack and Chris Hero on the card, the crowd was maybe 150ppl cause ppl from the Pittsburgh area came here. I would say the average ticked price for an indy show in Erie has been $10 to so it's not a bad price for good entertainment either.

the wizard of id said...

In my opinion it's not the regular indy fan that Big Names attract. You might get 30 - 60 more people but that's it. The target audience is the casual fans who watch those names on TV and therein lies the problem for indy promoters.

To reach those casual fans it takes more than message board posts and posters in the local bar or corner store. Even if you do manage to inform casual fans of the appearance of a name star at a local indy show they are unlikely to attend no matter how much their kids plead.

Bottom line - money. When mom and dad drop $500 bucks or more to take the kids to the WWE when they come to Ontario they pretty much figure they've shot their wad on wrestling. They're not going to shell out $100 more to drive the kids to the local community hall to see one name star. Especially when they know their kids will scream like hell to see the WWE again when they come back to town.
Unless indy feds have a radio or tv connection to get the message out there, they will draw squat for all but the biggest of the biggest stars.

Anonymous said...

Well, being from Timmins, Ontario, Canada, which is wayyyyyyy up North, we hardly get any "live" wrestling up here. That all changed in June of 2006 when BSE