Showing posts with label how to be a promoter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label how to be a promoter. Show all posts

Thursday, February 28, 2013


P.T. Barnum
When I talk about becoming a promoter here, I talk about promoting your business.  No matter what your business is Promotion is a vital part of any business.  Which better way to learn than by studying the greatest promoters of all time.

Dana White ranks the best promoters of all time (P.T. Barnum, Vince McMahon, Don King, Bob Arum, him last), and give a special place to Mama Kardashian / Kris Jenner.

“That’s a tough one, man. I think if you look at the fact that people still know who the (expletive) PT Barnum is, you’d have to go with PT Barnum as No. 1. Um, I’d probably put Vince No. 2. Vince and Don are both up there in age. Vince is still in there, (expletive) doing his thing, cutting huge major deals. I would put Don King No. 3. Who else did you have? You’d have to put Arum in there, too. You have to put Arum in there. And if I had to be on there, I’d put me last.”

"I have no idea. I don't think I'd be someone who would make that decision. I think there are a lot of great promoters. People know who Barnum is, Vince McMahon has been around a long time. Don King. Mama Kardashian, if she isn't the greatest promoter of all time, I don't know who is. The show is about nothing and her daughters are some of the most famous people on earth and are making millions. I don't think you could count her out. I'm very proud of what we've been able to do and we've done things that people have never done before, things even boxing couldn't do in its heyday. I don't think about who's the greatest promoter of all time."

Vince McMahon and P.T. Barnum lived a century apart, but have tremendous similarities in their desire to dazzle the public with a mix of reality and fantasy. Both showmen have sought to provide "bigger than life" attractions, which have been effective in very different eras.

Key traits of P.T. Barnum, the successful entrepreneur:
1. Started with no financial advantage or backing.

2. Major risk taker.

3. Dreamed big dreams.

4. Understood his audience.

5. Willing to ignore the truth; created his own "truths".

6. Hustler

7. Generated excitement

8. Self promoting

9. Master of promotion; able to get audiences to suspend disbelief.

10. Presented attractions "bigger than life" (George Washington’s "nurse," Jumbo the Elephant, Jenny Lind, etc.)

Key traits of Vince McMahon, the successful entrepreneur:

  1. Started with no financial advantage, but did have a "foot in the door" with his father’s business.
2. Visionary.

3. A big risk-taker, who achieved big rewards as a result.

4. Amazing passion for the business; it is his life.

5. Willing to work non-stop to succeed.

6. Creative genius.

7. Understands his audience and delivers.

8. Brutal competitor.

9. Doesn’t just "think big" – thinks huge!

10. Seen by some as ruthless; by many as relentless.


-- both built businesses that impacted the entertainment industry in ways no one expected.

-- both active participants "in the spotlight" in worlds that they created; both spent time at the microphone.

-- "bigger is better" -- Jumbo the Elephant for Barnum; Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant for McMahon.

-- both mixed reality with fantasy.

-- both risk takers.

-- both brought creativity, innovation to entertainment.

-- both pioneers in their achievements.

-- both used "shock value" to capture an audience.

-- both wanted to "wow" people.

-- both controlled their show’s content.

-- both appealed to violent nature and lurid curiosity.

-- both used Madison Square Garden as a key venue for their shows.

-- both supported hospitals and charitable causes: McMahon supporting Make-a-Wish; Barnum the first president of Bridgeport Hospital in CT.

 -- Barnum was a loner; Vince brought his family in.

-- PT took a bizarre and scary approach to entertain; Vince did it with more glitz and power.

-- Barnum performed himself aggressively on the lecture circuit: museums, ten gatherings, theaters, private homes. Vince became a central character on his weekly TV shows, as the WWE owner Mr. McMahon. 

-- Barnum was a politician: he held offices as Republican representative for Fairfield, CT, as well as Mayor of Bridgeport. To date, Vince McMahon has not shown a desire to run for office, although his wife Linda has.


UFC fans don't want to hear this, but Vince McMahon is clearly Dana White's business role model. The WWE has built its business on the following:
  • Use of free cable TV programming to reach fans and promote Pay Per Views
  • PPV as the big revenue driver
  • Aggressive international expansion
  • Ruthlessly compete against domestic competitors and buy any that are too big to crush
  • Use the brand and the company executives as the front man of the company to prevent any single fighter/performer from getting too big.
The UFC has built its business on those five pillars.


Vince McMahon
Pro Wrestling / WWE

Don King

Bob Arum

Dana White

Joe Weider