The future of armwrestling promotions
The world has most certainly been tipped on its head in 2020 and with no promise of 2021 being a return to what we used to consider normal, the way the world promotes professional sports is changing.
For the world of armwrestling this isn't such a bad thing because we are a speedboat among ocean liners and our ability to change directions quickly can be capitalised on.
The first thing that will likely change, and, in my opinion needs to change, is long term athlete contracts. It is simply too difficult for major leagues to guarantee an athlete that events will take place over a long term schedule. With covid popping up on short notice, shutting down cities, and athletes incurring compulsory quarantine periods, it just isn't feasible and causes both the league and the athlete to go without.
Enter, the era of individual athlete promotions. Undoubtedly we want to see leagues like the PAL and WAL survive. They both consistently bring the highest quality promotion of matches and are held in high esteem by armwrestlers globally, however, right now is the time for athletes to establish an individual sense of promotion, and the major leagues to sign athletes on a single event contracts only.
So what do I mean when I say individual athlete promotions? Well, what I mean in this term is that an athlete, right now, has a better opportunity than ever to take charge of their own promotional value. Given that major events are incredibly rare and increasingly difficult to establish, pulling a one on one, privately hosted match is currently achieving more global views than anything else. Think of things like Devon and Michael pulling in Jujis garage or Schoolboy and Larry pulling in Dubai. Right now any professional armwrestler can travel to another, film it privately, upload it to social media and get serious traction.
The other benefit of this strategy is that the athlete determines their own destiny. Think about it. For me personally, I want to be the middleweight world champion among both the PAL and WAL circles. Without the league's in action, I can privately arrange supermatches with an array of people that give me the chance to grow to that status. Money talks at the end of the day, and it also helps establish credibility and authenticity to the match. For example, if I traveled to the Ukraine and offered $5000 to the winner of a supermatch against Rustam Babayev, he would undoubtedly take the match, the audience would undoubtedly believe both athletes gave their best efforts, and if I won it would no doubt create a lasting shift in the opinions of armwrestling fans for what my rank may be.
Now I'm not saying I am yet ready for Rustam, but hopefully it illustrates the point. As individual promotion of an athlete grows, it gets easier to offer more substantial prizemoney for a private event. I already did this with Chance Shaw. I offered $500 which he didn't have to match and the winner took the kity.
The other benefit to looking at the sport this way is it allows for the big leagues to still be seen to be active and still sponsor matches.
If I were in charge of the WAL or PAL right now I would be 100% taking this opportunity to arrange a private match between Levan Saginashvili and Michael Todd for let's say $20,000 and have it filmed and released via YouTube. Allow both PAL and WAL equal rights to distribute the match on an agreed date and time, and split revenue from 3rd party sponsors down the middle. Each league would make significant revenue from the views on YouTube, and the 3rd party sponsors money would make it worth while. This keeps the momentum for the league's going and it gives the fans and athletes what they desire most; matches that matter.
What are your thoughts?
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