I sit here at Sydney airport with a beer in hand and an hour before my flight is due to depart thinking about the journey I am embarking on and it gets me thinking. Gets me thinking that the Bottom 8 tournament is a wonderful example of marketing influence at its best.
Here we have a tournament made up of a bunch of Armwrestlers that lets face it, are a long way from Top 8 material. Trolls, loudmouths, self proclaimed coaches, comedians, talk show hosts, Instagram beasts YouTube celebs, but elite armwrestlers? Not quite.
Don't get me wrong, everyone participating in this event can armwrestle.....well.....almost all of them but it isn't the armwrestling ability that really matters in this instance. Instead it is the storytelling through sensationalized social media platforms that gives this tournament a true degree of impact and attention.
How much attention you ask? Enough that there is $1k Winners Prize + $1K worth of Gold + $500 appearance fee for all the participants plus a significant opportunity for each individual to earn.
Now again, let's be real. This degree of payout isn't even in the realm of proper pay for athletes in the scheme of global sports, but, it does most certainly highlight a point.
It highlights that with just a small amount of notoriety, these 8 washups are able to genuinely create a tournament with significant interest for the followers of this sport.
The lesson to be learned here and the thought I find myself reflecting on is that the more of the genuine elite who decide to tap into a similar approach to notoriety the faster our sport will have big money in it.
Thanks to platforms like YouTube and Facebook an individual athlete can command enough attention that they can operate 100% independently of any league, take call out matches, call out tournaments, self fund their travel and generate enough revenue that it can become their full time job.
Don't believe me? Take a look at the revenue of any youYouT channel that has over 100k subscribers on it. Devon Larratt for instance. There is almost nothing stopping that man from being able to call out anyone, travel, have a filmmaker follow him for the journey and release the footage on his channel and making more money than he could in a WAL matchup.
I believe all athletes regardless of competitive level have this opportunity, and bottom 8 is demonstrating this fact perfectly. I personally will film my matches and my journey and release it on my channel, and if last indicators are reliable, the trip will for me be financially profitable.
We are in a time of transition for the way entertainment is consumed. Leagues should use this approach, individuals should use this approach with zero contracts while keeping it 100% free for fans to consume.
Do you agree? I whole heartedly believe that those who position themselves best during this transition will receive the greatest reward.