Saturday, March 07, 2020

JCP Promotion Kit

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Vintage documents provided by Les Thatcher

A substantial percentage of revenue generated by Jim Crockett Promotions back in the territory days (and most all other territorial promotions of that era) was made through partnerships with local organizations in medium to small size towns. These sponsor organizations would provide local resources to promote the "spot show" and in turn would share in the profits from the event. It was a way for local schools and civic organizations (for example) to raise funds for their various projects, charities, or their operating budgets.

In the mid-1970s, Les Thatcher, who was working in the front office of Jim Crockett Promotions at that point, put together a packet that the company could provide to those various local organizations to help them properly prepare for the wrestling event to ensure its success and thereby be profitable for both. The package was called a Promotion Kit and contained several documents helpful to those on the ground with the local organization responsible for helping put on the event.

Les recently came across a complete Promotion Kit in some of the memorabilia he has kept over the years. Knowing of our interest in this sort of thing, he graciously sent it to us so that we could share it here for all of you to enjoy.

"This all came about as a result of conversations with Sandy Scott and Danny Miller, who set up many of these spot shows, and worked with the sponsors," Les told me. "The idea in making this kit up was that most sponsors were not knowledgeable about promoting. Often they would miss getting the word out as well as they should and this kit would help on that end."

Scott and Miller, wrestling legends in the territory who were now retired from the ring and working for the JCP office as well, would frequently have Les write up press releases or ads to pass along to their sponsors. Promoter Jim Crockett, Jr. quickly saw the need to provide Scott and Miller with helpful material that they could then provide to the organizations they were working with in the local communities.

"Jimmy mentioned that we need some sort of guide for those folks," Les said. "So Francis Crockett, Don Swofford (Advertising and Business Manager), and I put our heads together and came up with this."

Promotional Kit - Folder Cover

The kit included several documents and pieces of information that would prove to be helpful to the local sponsor. These included a letter from Jim Crockett, Jr., a checklist of everything that needed to be done, advertising information (radio, newspapers, posters), a typical seating diagram, a sample newspaper ad, and a template to help the sponsor and their newspaper's art department create a suitable ad for their show.

I've included images of each of these documents below.

Letter from Jim Crockett, Jr.

Sponsor Checklist
You'll notice the type-font at the top of some of these documents was the same as the type-font used in headers and titles in the old Mid-Atlantic Wrestling magazines sold b JCP in those years. Les produced those, too.

Advertising Information

The sponsor was responsible for radio, newspaper, and poster advertising. The Crockett office provided the posters, but it was the sponsor's responsibility to get them placed in the local area where the show was taking place.

TV advertising was provide by Jim Crockett Promotions. The date, time, and location of the local spot show would be included in the television programs airing in the markets that covered the spot show town. "The shows were plugged on the TV outlet nearest them during those 2:20 second spots," Les told me. These were the local promo spots where wrestlers would have a chance to do interviews hyping up cards coming to that area. "If the sponsor was able to get interview spots locally, then they would contact the office or Danny or Sandy to line up one of the wrestlers for it." 

Seating Diagram

I loved seeing these ad templates in the kit. They are in a style that is immediately recognizable to fans from that era. The sponsor would work with the local newspaper, providing this template so that an ad could be created listing the matches. The Crockett office would provide photos of the stars appearing on the card that could be used in the ad.

A sample ad was also provided in the kit.

"Danny and Sandy would touch base with the sponsors from time to time leading up to the event," Les said, "to see if they needed any help and to remind them to be sure the posters were out and advance ticket outlet or outlets were set up."

The kit proved to be an effective way to help ensure the success of the sponsored shows for both the local organization and for Jim Crockett Promotions.

My special thanks to Les Thatcher for sharing this unique piece of memorabilia from the territory days with us and all our visitors to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.