Globally, armwrestling in the last 12 months has been a rocky ride for both promoters and pullers alike. No one will forget the demise of the WAL Finals where the collective financial loss among armwrestlers was in the hundreds of thousands; nor will people forget the issues over puller contracts in various leagues that lead to the demise of leagues such as the UAL. And even at the lower level we have seen many promoters of tournaments and supermatches pull out of their cash prize promises at the 11th hour.
There is no question that pullers involved feel gutted at events such as this. Losing money, losing prestige, losing an opportunity to legitimize their progress is a bitter pill to swallow and one that fuels a lot of resentment.
But don't forget the promoter. Although it appears on the surface that the promoter has done the wrong thing. Remember that the promoter set out on their path with the best of intentions, invested time, energy and their own money to host a tournament and they have fallen short, and now lost money and reputation. Am i saying the promoter isnt in the wrong? Not at all.
So, what is the solution to this problem that seems to be plaguing the sport at the moment. I believe the buck stops with the promoters. Too many armwrestlers prematurely pull the trigger on promoting a tournament. And far too many over promise without any suitable financial position or business plan in place. It comes down to the realisation, that in order to give a sponsor, or a venue value for money, you must give them value in the form of advertising or direct sales.
If promoting armwrestling events is something you aspire to do you must realise that it is all about sales. Sales are everything in the world of business. Pats on the back, and goodwill aren't ever going to be enough. Before you even pull the trigger on promoting an event, you must realise that you need to write a business model that results in sales for the sponsor or venue first and foremost.
So how do we achieve these sorts of sales?
I believe that the best form of marketing is storytelling. Whatever the story, if it is told well, an audience will watch. See my example of the Bishop Vs Bowen supermatch. We had 22,000 live views within 24 hours of the match going live. We had a total of 238,000 views of the pre match videos, and we delivered real targeted advertising value to the venue that was hosting the event. The venue walked away from the event over the moon, they felt they achieved a well and truly positive return on investment and look forward to doing it again.
The reason we were able to achieve results such as this was because of the fact that through the marketing we told the story of who Justin and I were and how much the match meant to each of us. It drew passionate fans from the communities of Alabama and Redbank Plains together to support their guy, and everyone who watched the build up and match walked away having thoroughly enjoyed the process.
Storytelling really is the key. Learn how to do it.
At the end of the day, armwrestling has been an underground sport for a long time. As the decades pass, new faces arrive and spark hope of the sport someday being mainstream. And most pullers who have been around, despite their love for the sport itself, have lost hope that anything significant will ever happen.
I believe the sport can be big. In today's age of content production and ease of global distribution, it is crazy to think that it cant be done. People have made far less activities a global phenomenon and for anyone willing to start storytelling, armwrestling too, can be one of those things that make it.