The Territorial Fire

I wonder if anyone has ever done a real business school case study about what happened to the territorial system.  I wonder if people have looked at the business conditions that caused the system to fall apart.  I was thinking about this when I read this on International Object:
And Madden’s probably right in a very narrow way: it might have been better for certain pocketbooks, but it was inevitable. If Vince McMahon hadn’t put out the territorial fire, someone else would have. Or they would have wrecked it themselves.

I love this statement.  I think there were a lot of reasons that shows the truth about what happened in wrestling.  The territory system started before wrestling was on national television.  National Cable Television and the internet was going to change the entertainment landscape no matter wrestling promotions did.

To be honest, I think the wrestling industry was healthier in the 70s.  There were more jobs for wrestlers, bookers, and promoters in those days.  The health of one company was much less important.  Now if the WWE had financial troubles, how many other promotions will do shows in 10000+ seat arenas?  I am not so sure another wrestling company would rise up to take the place of the WWE.

I have no doubt that it was easier to be a wrestler when they could live in one place and did not have to hit the road.  In the Heroes of World Class Wrestling (Director's Cut) someone says that Fritz Von Erich did not want to take his promotion nation because he wanted to live at home in Dallas.  As a married man I could not choose a job where I did not come home to my wife every night.

The problem is the market for wrestling has changed.  It is no longer a series of local markets where you can get a large number of people to come out to a wrestling show every week or every month.  Without that you cannot support a territory.  This means the old system is not coming back.

I wish I had the market data about wrestling.  I wish I could see the number of customers about wrestling in the 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000's and now.  Only then could I have anything intelligent to say on this subject.  With the current state of entertainment, television, live events, and streaming video, there is no way to tell where the industry is going.  In that case there is no way to know how things will play out.  If we are wrestling fans seeing where this goes in much more enjoyable than complaining it is now going how we want it to go.

Further Reading:
Mark Madden on Tyler Reks
TH on Comments on Mark Madden


nelly said…
Hey rich, really enjoy your work- keep it up. I am BettybettyBop, the winner of the International Object Podcast 50th contest-I received your email with the iTunes gift, but it disappeared before I was able to download it :( was wondering if you could re-send it to me? Thanks so much for your time brother and I really enjoy you and ksp's podcast. -Scott Nelsen, or

Popular Posts