Wrestling has taken its share of hits, from the International Olympic Committee decision in February to eliminate the sport from the Summer Games effective in 2020, to the elimination of college programs like Boston University announced in March.
The sport may be down, but it’s not out. In fact, wrestling can thrive, if it did a better job promoting itself, according to writer and former college wrestler Joe Reasbeck, in an article posted at the WIN (Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine) website Friday.
As author of the “NearFall” novels about brothers who are wrestlers, Reasbeck is uniquely qualified to offer promotion ideas high schools and colleges can put to work right away. He opens his WIN article by saying, “Having traveled coast to coast with the “NearFall” book series, I’ve been in a unique position to see what’s working and what isn’t in our sport…”
“I wrestled for the University of Minnesota and I had a front row seat to the marketing and promotion efforts put forth by (head coach) J Robinson and his staff,” Reasbeck continues. “Maybe it was trial and error, but a formula has emerged which I believe we can replicate across wrestling. J took crowds from less than a couple hundred people to a several thousand person audience at every match. If it can be done at Minnesota, it can be done everywhere.”
In his WIN article, Reasbeck then goes on to share fifteen ideas any prep or collegiate wrestling program can use to promote itself… get more fans in the stands… and generate more media coverage. Among the ideas:
No. 1: Play upbeat music and have fun. Whether it’s a live band, or a DJ, music can be used to get fans fired up and involved in the action… and make the event more entertaining and memorable.
No. 2: Make your venue look packed. Reasbeck shares visual tricks to make any space appear to be full of fans. This helps boost the energy level and emphasizes the idea that the wrestling event is THE place to be.
No. 6: Get the match on the Internet, local radio and all forms of social media. If fans can’t get to the gym, bring the action to them, no matter where they are. Consider using Internet tools such as videos, and live streaming… as well as posts on Facebook and Twitter, such as play-by-play accounts of matches, posting photos and videos, and quotes from coaches and wrestlers.
No. 14: Make a big deal about the entrance of your athletes into the arena. Why should professional athletes in the NFL and NBA be the only ones to get a big welcome when they step out onto the field of play? There are ways to add a touch of showbiz as wrestlers enter the venue that not only build excitement for fans in the stands… but also make the athletes and their families feel special.
Want to know more? For more positive ideas high school and college wrestling programs can use to promote their wrestlers and their events better, check out Joe Reasbeck’s article for WIN online.
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