During a recent episode of 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff spoke on wrestlers status as independent contractors and how he feels about it. Here’s what he had to say:
I’ll be honest with you – back before I went to WWE as a talent for the first time, I did a fair amount of research on my just out of curiosity because I always felt that the independent contractor status in the business model that WWE uses that relies so much on the independent contractor status of its talent was an Achilles heel. It was just a matter of time before it was going to be challenged. Frankly, I’m surprised it hasn’t been challenged sooner – surprised in many ways but in many ways I guess I shouldn’t be. There’s so much at risk. If I was a talent today – if I was 25, 26, 27 years old and was just beginning to get my feet underneath me within the sports entertainment industry as a performer – I can understand the tendency for people to get excited about this because they think it’ll benefit their lives, and in some way as a young talent, maybe it will. And maybe it will across the board in some ways and maybe in many ways if this whole unionization or reclassifying WWE talent and AEW talent – this is not just WWE because if this issue becomes a big issue, which I kind of think it will, it’s going to radically change the wrestling business, particularly in WWE because they’ve been around a lot longer.
As a young talent or maybe a more seasoned talent who doesn’t really understand the potential ramifications……I can understand why it sounds great if we were a union and I would get this or that – and all those things are true in regards to health insurance or other benefits. But what does it do to the revenue model to WWE or AEW or any other televised wrestling company? It’s going to dramatically change the way people are paid, and it may not benefit talent as much as they think it will. There’s a lot of value in being an independent contractor. There are some downsides, there is a risk, but there are also limitations when you’re an employee or if you’re in a union. If I was a talent….be careful what you wish for, do your homework, think about it and think about the unintended consequences in the ways that you’re gonna be affected if the WWE talent model in terms of paying talent is dramatically altered. The strength of that company has been their core business model and the fact that their expenses were so directly tied to the company’s performance from a revenue point of view. If unionization becomes a real thing or even if unionization doesn’t but WWE is challenged in court by the likes of Andrew Yang and has to defend their independent contractor status for their talent, there’s a really good chance in today’s political environment that it’s not gonna come out good for WWE.
You can listen HERE.
Credit: 83 Weeks. H/T 411Mania.