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So, You wanna be a promoter?
by Ric Drasin on 2001-11-28

Ever wonder how to start your own wrestling federation? If so, Ric Drasin is kind enough to supply a capsule handbook on the art, which has been modified for reproduction here:

"Itís not as easy as it looks or more people would be successful at it Ö there is NOT a whole lot of money in it. Most promoters lose money and some, if lucky, just break even. Iím 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 arriving. They are all true Ö otherwise, being a wrestler is easy. You just have to show up. Many of the boys ask me when Iím 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 Ďpromotion.í Letting people know you are there, is so important. If no one knows, no one shows! Ö

First of all, you must have access to wrestlers. You need to have at least 30 on a list in case some canít show and you need stand-by matches. Plus, you should find out the reputation of your talent and see if they are reliable. You donít want someone to commit to being there and then not show after you have advertised them. You will need a ring (obviously). If you donít have one, you can rent one and the price should be fair -- no more than $350 for the night. You also will want to list all the people that you need to work the event: lighting, camera, ticket booth, door man, security, timekeeper, referee, dressing room monitor (send guys out, etc.), announcer Ö These are basics and mostly you can get friends to do it for Ďfreeí admission. The building, if you rent it, should cost no more than $500.

Liability insurance is another thing. You donít want to get sued by someone who gets hurt. I carry $2 million liability. I have a blanket coverage that costs me $180.00 a year for shows, training people, etc. If I have to additionally insure a venue, itís an added $35 for the night. That is very reasonable and necessary. Now, your overhead with paying 12 wrestlers ($25, $50, and up depending on experience and time in the business) each will be around the $1,200.00 mark, give or take. I havenít 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 also will get our radio stations here to plug it. Sometimes thatís 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. Also figure in that kidsí prices will be cheaper, maybe $6. This increases the number you need to attend. 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 $2,000 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 (1,000 or 2,000) 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 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 everyoneís 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 itís 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 Ö

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 will also send a letter of thanks to the school or charity, 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 donít throw up a ring in a building like a Ďbackyard fedí and expect it to work. Much success to you all!


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Quotes from the boys: Moondog Manson says "After a long hard thought about what I wanted to do, I realized retirement isn't what I wanted. Why would I give these knuckleheads the satisfaction of retirement when I can terrorize them ten fold in the ring.".
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