I think I’d like to change course from worrying about the NCAA Rules Committee and USA Wrestling’s lack of interest in the sports spectator appeal, and shift to the creation of a promotional video.
Especially when wrestling’s two most influential governing bodies, mentioned above, have been asleep at the wheel seemingly forever.
In support of that claim, let’s look at some numbers.
Were you aware that the 60th worst basketball program in America relative to attendance, Texas A&M, had the same number of spectators per game as the University of Iowa had for wrestling, which is our sports most successful program?
And DePaul University, the 100th worst basketball program in America in regards to attendance, has more spectators in the stands than the average of the ten best Division I wrestling programs.
Here’s a numbing statistic that got my attention. The spectator numbers for wrestling at Utah Valley outdrew every school in the ACC. And over half of the Division I wrestling schools in America all finished the year with less than 500 fans in attendance per dual. Clarion has dropped from more than 3000 spectators per home meet when I wrestled there to just 190 of late.
And if a school wanted to make it into wrestling’s Top 10, relative to spectator numbers, they would only have to attract 2000 spectators per dual? That’s a shamefully small number, and hardly enough to cover the costs of scholarships, let alone operational expenses and salaries for the coaches. And I wouldn’t recommend that any of you ask about the spectator numbers for the other 68 Division I programs. They’re abysmal.
Here’s something else to sink your teeth into. Men’s tennis at the D-I level, has more teams competing than all three NCAA (D-I, D-II and D-III) divisions for wrestling.
Were you also aware that an unbelievably high percentage of America’s major sport athletes don’t have a clue who Jordan Burroughs is, or that Team USA won the World Championships a month ago? All we’re hearing is crickets from America’s media outlets and that’s Colorado Springs fault. Heads should roll over that alone, but they won’t. And dare I mention that we might currently have the greatest female athlete in the world, in any sport among our ranks, and her name is as obscure as Jordan’s.
Colorado Springs certainly gets credit for all that, along with the NCAA Rules Committee for wrestling being the world’s least exciting sport, in relation to what it could be.
Enough of that for now. How about a marketing idea that’s entitled; Are We There Yet?
We begin with the camera rolling from the upper deck of a large arena and quickly zooms in on a mat that has two young ladies in a wild flurry of wrestling action. A few seconds later a voiceover is heard; “Are we there yet?”
The scene then shifts to a wrestling room where an elementary group of children are working out. The room is full of wrestlers who are tall and short, big and small, male and female with our normal mix of ethnic groups being represented. The camera focuses on a female coach helping two boys, one of which is a little person. The same voice as before is heard saying; “Are we there yet?”
From there the video moves outside to a football stadium where the coaches are making the wrestlers run the bleacher steps. Many of them have shirts on that reflect the athletes are from our sport so the viewer continues to know what they’re watching. Then the camera zooms in on a person without sight, his hand on the elbow of his partner as they climb the steps together. Again, the same question is asked; “Are we there yet?”
As the video is coming to a close, the camera moves to a weight room where many of those who were in the previous segments are at different stations lifting. From there the camera finds a young athlete who is missing an appendage working out. Stopping what he or she is doing, the person looks into the lens of the camera and says, “Yes, we are there, and wrestling has always been America’s most inclusive sport!”
Rick . . . be kind; you know where I stand on the issues and I totally agree with you regarding entertainment must come first. Actually I’m getting tired of you being “harsh.” It’s not necessary.
Product first, promotion second.
Love your idea about “How Wrestling Loses.” That would be a great title for an article.
Agreed with; we don’t need to educate the spectator. Unfortunately, that’s not what the sport is doing when they create rules, only to be forced to add additional ones for the purpose of clarifying the previous ones.
KISS would work wonders if they’d allow it to.
I post this as a friend. I’m going to be harsh. I want you to succeed. I believe you are pissing into the wind.
You’d be amazed how quickly I can change channels when your promotional video comes on.
Any possible fans who watch your promotional video and attend a match or tournament, won’t come back.
Until you get a product fans want, I mean really want, no promotional video is going to help.
All your “fans” are friends and family members of the competitors.
They are there, not for your sport, but for their friend or family member.
You had a series, “How wrestling wins”. You need a series, “How wrestling loses”.
Until you get amateur wrestling to look itself in the mirror, really critique itself, it can’t compete for fans.
I will end by saying your style of wrestling is not instinctive. You have to “educate” people so they can enjoy it.
I can enjoy the UFC without being “educated”. I can enjoy professional boxing without being “educated”.
I can enjoy professional wrestling without being “educated”.
I can even enjoy basketball and football without being “educated”.
I don’t want to be “educated”. I have better things to do with my time than get “educated”.
I will vote with my feet. I have a dozen other things I can do or watch.
Sorry for being so harsh. I hope you understand, I say this as a friend who wants you to succeed.
Before amateur wrestling can win, it must understand why it is losing.