Indy Promotions probably have have travel/food/hotels setup via bulk discounts through a travel agency or site.
If you're a local business and these guys come through a few times a year and can get the majority of them to visit your place of business, you'd offer big discounts due to the bulk of Wrestlers coming making up for any discounts given.
I'm no expert, but from what I've been told there are lots of deals involved. Running a successful indy requires being a great dealmaker. Cost sharing and special packages are a thing and WWE does it too. Any business that involves employee travel does.
Originally Posted by Miss Sally
As for venues, I'd imagine it's a tax write off for the Promotion and the Venue since the events aren't that big. The venues probably make money off ticket fees, merch and food sold at the place. Even if there is only a few hundred people, they're probably spending money. The promotion probably makes money off merch, autographs and various things such as that.
Since the money trickles down from top to bottom the bigger Wrestlers can be paid well.
, though there's often a fee for providing the facilities and, say, display tables, merch sales are more for the talent than the promoter or venue. It's part of their income. That's why you should always buy a shirt or something if you appreciate a wrestler showing up at your local show. It helps them and good merch sales help convince them to come back.
Indies covers a wide range. Some are close to being 'pro' level, and able to pay more talent within a competitive range to WWE but with fewer dates. This is a perfect setup for those who would be earning mid to lower tier in WWE but who want freedom from a crazy schedule.
Smaller indy companies work with budgets that allow for one or two 'name' talents at bigger shows. They usually advertise the known wrestler (or even non-wrestling talent) as a draw to offset the increased costs of these key events. Sometimes a group of local indies will band together to spread the cost among them, creating shows that feature higher pay bracket stars alongside their regular combined rosters. Local sponsorship is also common. Again, it's a win-win; design and print company X puts out posters at a discount in exchange for having their name on display. Standard sports sponsorship stuff.
There is money to be made for enterprising types who want to freelance but there is the trade off that you have to know how to sell yourself and be willing to work venues in out-of-the-way places or overseas. For some, that's more aggravating and time-consuming than WWE, where you just show up where and when they tell you. And, of course, not everyone who sits on the lower WWE tier is going to find paychecks waiting on the indy scene simply because they can say they worked for the biggest name.