A weekly look into the opinions of one man who loves wrestling
We here at Heel/Face Wrestling are huge proponents of the saying “Support Indy Wrestling”. We have dedicated our time, energy and money to providing the best coverage of Texas independent wrestling. In essence, we saw a need that we felt could use a boost and we met it. You, the readers/listeners have received us with open arms and we are eternally grateful for that.
When talking about independent promotions and wrestlers, one thing that always comes up is the word “EXPOSURE”. Every wrestler, manager, and promoter is looking for this word. Why? With exposure comes the ability to be booked to different venues, entered into bigger tournaments and a chance to reach your goals, whatever they may be.
In the age of technology where everything is readily available online and usually within a few seconds of it happening, how do the indy companies gain more exposure for themselves and for their talent? The answer currently is Internet Pay Per Views (iPPVs). Much like the Pay-Per-Views of old where we, or rather our parents, would pay $49.99 for us to enjoy the stylings of Shawn Michaels or Sting taking out the nWo, iPPV’s allow for fans across the world to log in and for a price watch the event as it happens in real time. Complete with commentary! This is a huge boost to not only the promotions but also for the fans and talent too.
Recently, an Austin-based promotion, WC from here on out, ran their first iPPV. I was in the house for this card and let me tell you it blew the doors off the hinges and well into the next county. This was only their 6th show and the question was asked, even by me, why would you choose to run a iPPV so soon into your promotions life? The factors are huge. You have a huge starting cost of not only the equipment needed but also the bandwidth needed to stream your product cleanly online. These costs are not cheap and even if you buy the equipment used you are still racking up a pretty hefty sum.
With this inherent risk, why would a company incur these enormous costs? EXPOSURE.
By broadcasting your product over the internet you gain the ability to grow your fanbase outside of your city, state, providence, and country. The proof of this can be found in WC, who even before this, was gaining a name outside of not only Austin but the U.S. The growth of your fan based will lead to higher revenue which will lead to moving to bigger venues, bigger ticket sales and bigger buyrates for your next iPPV. This is almost instant global exposure and a huge boost to not only the company but the talent as well.
Talent benefits too? Yes! The same 8-letter “E” word. Talent that is shown on a large scale has the chance to impact on a greater scale. By being broadcast worldwide, the talent on the card is gaining the ability to gain new fans and wow them. These same fans can lead to them being in demand on future cards or other promotions cards. This leads to a bigger payday for these talents and the chance to get noticed by the bigger wrestling promotions of the world.
As it is with most things there are risks. Not only the huge costs involved but also a growing trend that is affecting not only WC but also Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore and that is piracy. Now internet pirates are nothing new, they have been pirating music and dvds from billion dollar companies since the VHS/Cassette Tape days. While stealing from a large company may seem like a stealing a pen cap of water from the massive water well but when you apply the same concept to a small, newly formed company the impact is massive. Huge hole in the side of a bucket massive. I’m not entirely privy to the exact numbers but let’s just do some basic math. WC had 1,000 people pay the $9.99 to watch it legally. They then had somewhere around 20,000 illegal streams. 1,000 < 20,000. In bandwidth that is a massive hit. So in the end the company takes a massive hit to it’s revenue which puts a lot of other things in jeopardy.
Now, I’m not going to speak about WC but I’ll use another well known organization as an example: TNA/Impact Wrestling. Not hating on TNA/Impact Wrestling but a few months back they went through a financial crisis. It became known that checks to talent were late or bouncing. If your job paid you and then when you went to cash check and it bounced, would you be ok with it? Most of the talent were lenient on the first time but as it happened more and more they became agitated. Some left the company and vowed never to return there. I use them as an example for the ways that piracy can hurt a company. If a company’s revenue is affected to the point that it cannot pay talent then in a pay by match type of business, said talent is less likely to return. That hurts not only the company but the fans as well.
So what am I trying to say? iPPV’s are a great asset to the wrestling community but are being hurt by piracy. If you enjoy wrestling then support it. Go to a show or buy an iPPV when available. That’s the greatest mark of approval we as fans can give.