In the world of sports entertainment, nothing can hype itself up more than World Wrestling Entertainment.
With the Royal Rumble over, the WWE is slowly creating its stampede towards MetLife on its self-advertised ‘Road to WrestleMania’. Although it is not until April that the likes of John Cena, Undertaker, and Triple H make their stroll into the squared circle upon the booming chorus of speakers serenading the crowd with their iconic entrance music, the time is now to realize that WWE may soon be the king of kings for the sports industry.
Regardless of the belief from some that wrestling is a dying industry, it is much more popular than most people believe. In 2017, Forbes conducted research on the top sporting events in the world. WrestleMania was the sixth-highest out of any sporting event in terms of brand value at $196 million.
This ranked in front of the Champions League, the College Football Playoff, and the World Series. In WWE’s 2017 annual report, its highlights included reaching a company landmark by having its highest revenue ever at $801 million. In the third quarter of the fiscal year, WWE has earned its most revenue ever in a nine-month span, generating $657.7 million.
The WWE’s social media gathering also demonstrates its popularity not only in the United States but internationally. According to the WWE’s 2017 annual report, its views across all platforms went up 32 percent from the previous year, totaling 20 billion views. This comes with having YouTube’s most viewed sports channel. The WWE is also YouTube’s second most viewed channel ever with 20 billion lifetime views.
In the third quarter of 2018 WWE continued to expand monumentally in a digital aspect. This is due to video views going up 61 percent compared to the same time last year with 22.9 billion views through nine months with over 842 million hours over social media formats, which was up 81 percent from the same time last year.
Another digital innovation was the institution of its own streaming service in 2014, the WWE Network. Instead of having viewers pay almost $50 for every pay-per-view, the company has customers pay $9.99 a month to view these pay-per-views while also getting access to documentaries and other WWE original shows. In research by Park Associates, the WWE Network was in the top-five for most subscribers in 2016 and has since been a fixture amongst the top-10 in largest streaming-services.
WWE will also become more mainstream at the end of this year, as the company will be having one of its two primary shows, “Smackdown Live”, on Fox Sports every Friday for five years starting in October.
The WWE also illustrates its ability to cater towards every demographic, as it have increased its use of incorporating its female wrestlers in more prominent roles. Since last year, the women have been getting more publicity within the ring. Not only have the women been the main events for pay per-views, but they now have their own annual Royal Rumble match, a signature match for what used to be just the men’s side of WWE’s roster.
The WWE’s presence on social media and its vision of incorporating more matches for women is already paying dividends to the company, and with its introduction to a more publicized television network in the coming future, wrestling has an optimal chance of solidifying itself as the most followed industry in all of sports-entertainment.
Robert Fallo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @robert_fallo.WWE hitting the sports landscape like no other