Ever wondered what WWE contract actually looks like? The business behind wrestling is usually shrouded in mystery, but someone on Reddit stumbled upon a copy of a circa-2000 then-WWF talent contract. One interesting note? ‘wrestling’ appears more times than ‘sports entertainment’ does. Also of note is how WWE defines appearances and how talent is paid based on their appearances.
Here are the first few paragraphs, you can read the entire contract here:
This World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. Booking Contract ("Agreement"), dated this Fifteenth (15th) day of February, 2000, and made effective as of January 1, 2000, by and between World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc., a Delaware corporation, with its principal place of business at 1241 East Main Street, Stamford, Connecticut 06902 (hereinafter referred to as "COMPANY"), and Vincent K. McMahon, an individual residing at 14 Hurlingham Drive, Greenwich, CT 06831 (hereinafter referred to as "TALENT"). PREMISES WHEREAS, COMPANY is duly licensed, as required, to conduct professional wrestling exhibitions and is actually engaged in the business of organizing, publicizing, arranging, staging and conducting professional wrestling exhibitions throughout the world and of representing professional wrestlers in the promotion and exploitation of a professional wrestler's name, likeness, personality and character; and WHEREAS, COMPANY has established a nationwide network of television stations which regularly broadcast COMPANY's wrestling programs for purposes of publicizing COMPANY's professional wrestling exhibitions and COMPANY has established a network of cable television organizations which regularly broadcast COMPANY's professional wrestling exhibitions on a pay-per-view basis; and in addition thereto, COMPANY has developed and produced certain other television programs, which are also used to publicize, display and promote COMPANY's professional wrestling exhibitions; and WHEREAS, COMPANY's business operations afford TALENT opportunities to wrestle and obtain public exposure which will increase the value of his wrestling services and his standing in the professional wrestling community and entertainment industry; and WHEREAS, TALENT is duly licensed, as required, to engage in professional wrestling exhibitions and is actually engaged in the business of performing as a professional wrestler; and WHEREAS, TALENT is a performing artist and the professional wrestling exhibitions arranged by COMPANY constitute demonstrations of wrestling skills and abilities designed to provide athletic-styled entertainment to the public, and such wrestling exhibitions constitute entertainment and are not competitive sports; and WHEREAS, TALENT desires COMPANY to arrange wrestling matches for TALENT and to assist TALENT in obtaining public exposure through live exhibitions, television programs, public appearances, and merchandising activities, or otherwise;
NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual promises and agreements as set forth herein and for other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which are hereby acknowledged, the parties intending to be legally bound, do hereby agree as follows: 1. BOOKING 1.1 TALENT hereby grants exclusively to COMPANY, and COMPANY hereby accepts, the following worldwide rights: (a) During the term of this Agreement as defined below, the right to engage TALENT's performance in wrestling matches at professional wrestling exhibitions, as well as appearances of any type at other events, engagements or entertainment programs in which TALENT performs services as a professional wrestler, entertainer or otherwise directed by COMPANY in its sole discretion (collectively the "Events"), whether such Events are staged before a live audience, in a television broadcast studio, on location (for later viewing or broadcast) or otherwise. (b) During the term of this Agreement as defined below, the right, in perpetuity, to sell or otherwise distribute tickets of admission to the general public for viewing any or all of the Events, as well as to view the Events on any closed circuit television, pay-per-view television, video exhibition or any other medium now known or hereinafter discovered. (c) During the term of this Agreement and thereafter, as provided for in this Agreement, the right to solicit, negotiate, and enter into agreements for and on behalf of TALENT for the exploitation of Intellectual Property (as defined hereinbelow) for merchandising, commercial tie-ups, publishing, personal appearances, performances in non-wrestling events and endorsements. 1.2 In consideration of TALENT's granting of rights, license and other services, as set forth herein, and provided TALENT shall faithfully and fully perform all obligations hereunder, COMPANY shall endeavor to book TALENT as an individual or as a member of a group, which determination shall be made in COMPANY's sole discretion, in matches at various Events. 2. WORKS 2.1 If COMPANY books TALENT to appear and perform at Events, TALENT hereby grants to COMPANY and COMPANY hereby accepts, the exclusive right during the term of this Agreement to video tape, film, photograph, or otherwise record, or to authorize others to do so, by any media now known or hereinafter discovered, TALENT's appearance, performance, commentary, and any other work product for any or all of the Events. (These recordings by tape, disc, film, or otherwise are collectively referred to herein as the "Programs".) 2.2 Notwithstanding the termination of this Agreement for any reason, and notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, COMPANY shall have the right to produce, reproduce, reissue, manipulate, reconfigure, license, manufacture, record, perform, exhibit, broadcast, televise by any form of television (including without limitation, free, cable, pay cable, closed circuit and 2 pay-per-view television), transmit, publish, copy, reconfigure, compile, print, reprint, vend, sell, distribute and use via any other medium now known or hereinafter discovered, and to authorize others to do so, the Programs, in perpetuity, in any manner or media and by any art, method or device, now known or hereinafter discovered (including without limitation, by means of videodisc, videocassette, optical, electrical and/or digital compilations, theatrical motion picture and/or non-theatrical motion picture). All gags, costumes or parts of costumes, accessories, crowns, inventions, championship, title or other belts (if applicable), and any other items of tangible property provided to TALENT by COMPANY and/or containing New Intellectual Property as defined in paragraph 3.2 (a) shall be immediately returned to COMPANY upon termination of this Agreement for any reason.