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Jaroslav Hasek

How much other sports leagues pay

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The Wall Street Journal put together a very interesting piece on how much professional athletes get paid across just about every major north america sports league.  the piece doesn't consider endorsements, just payouts form the leagues/tours, so wrestling doesn't show up but the Professional Bowlers Association gets a mention.

 

brings up a lot of interesting things to consider. wrestling is a world away from tennis or golf, even the women's divisions, but i see no reason why a pro tour to rival bowling, darts, surfing or bull riding can't happen.

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Disclaimer: I am a huge freestyle fan and the basis of my argument does not lie in what rules are best.

 

Most of us would agree that all of the recent attempts at “pro” wrestling (RPW, Agon, Tour ACW) have failed to capture much of a following. Each of these leagues have one thing in common. They feature “hybrid” rules that mash together facets of folkstyle and freestyle.

 

I contend that the failure of these leagues (and the failure of freestyle in the United States) lies in the fact that the casual fan does not want to take the time to learn “new” rules.  In my opinion, we need to attract these “casual” fans for a professional league to work.

 

Why does the NCAA tournament draw millions of viewers while the US Open can’t draw 1% of that?  Because the guy who wrestled in middle school twenty years ago can turn on the NCAA finals and follow the action without much of a thought.  

 

My question: why has there never been an attempt to form a professional league governed by the current NCAA rules?  Why would the founder (and financial backer) of a pro league move away from the form of wrestling that is proven to be most popular in the United States?  Just for fun...compare the gate of this 2014 World Cup vs the 2014 NCAA Championships!

 

Form the league with four teams based in the major college wrestling hubs (Stillwater, State College, Iowa City, and Minneapolis) and fill each team with recently graduated stars from said school.  Start the league on a small scale.  Rent gym space at local high school and give the wrestlers part of the gate.

 

Wouldn’t you pay to see old rivalries renewed?  

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Form the league with four teams based in the major college wrestling hubs (Stillwater, State College, Iowa City, and Minneapolis) and fill each team with recently graduated stars from said school. 

 

Vast distances between those teams (1200 miles between Stillwater and State College).  Travel expenses could get pretty costly, especially if there aren't many teams.  

 

A couple ways to get around that, off the top of my head.

 

A.) having a tournament circuit, with tournaments in the towns of the traditional college powers (wrestlers would cover the travel expenses themselves).  With enough prize money, you can guarantee that national and international stars would show up, and you could build toward television coverage.

 

B.) having more teams in a tighter geographical space -- for example, NJ-PA-OH.  (But who would fund the teams?)

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Wouldn’t you pay to see old rivalries renewed?  

 

 

i think people would. but rather than start everything from scratch, my thinking is the RTC could serve as the 'teams' but for the actual post NCAA competitions would be only tournaments, at least to start. individual sports can be operated as team sports on the NCAA level but it's not the norm on the pro circuits, e.g. golf and tennis. but maybe have a dual meet jamboree at some point a la the ryder or davis cups?

 

i think sumo has the best set up for pro wrestling. a 'stable' where guys train, then 6 (i think) major tournaments a year, conducted as round robins with guys moving up and down the different tiers depending on how they do. 

 

i'd also just keep it freestyle rules, with certain exceptions, especially in tournament formats. that way you may be able to entice foreign competitors to train with your 'team'. 

 

thats just off the top of my head, plenty of details to be worked out after i win the lottery or find a box of money. 

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thats just off the top of my head, plenty of details to be worked out after i win the lottery or find a box of money. 

The current system is not self-sustaining.  In America, it's artificially buoyed by athletic departments.  Elsewhere, governments fund Olympic sports.  As a result, we have a hybrid professional/amateur system.  It's healthy enough as long as the outside funding continues.  In times of financial trouble, those funding sources might not be there forever.

 

In any truly professional system, you have to create a base and get that base to finance the elite performances.  If you don't at least break even, you go out of business.

 

With enough start up capital, you could create a real circuit, and I don't think it would take much.  For example, 15,000 seats at Carver Hawkeye x $50 = $750,000.  Ten weight classes where the winner receives $50,000 each and the rest of the $25,000 per weight is distributed among the top 8 placewinners. That kind of money would attract a lot of interest, no matter the style.  If the promoters could break even the first year with concession sales and advertisements, it could become an annual event.  Obviously you could get streaming internet video from Day One, and could work on television rights as the event became established.  If it does well in Iowa, you move on from there.

 

Another method would be kind of like a karate studio model.  Regionally based clubs could funnel money toward sponsored elite athlete/coaches, who would train at the regional hub within the club system.  

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