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Analyzing the New Partnership Between WWE and ESPN



The Worldwide Leader in Sports and World Wrestling Entertainment. These two names normally have never been synonymous with one another, until now.

There have been rumblings stating that ESPN and WWE would be working together closer than they have ever done before. Last week, there were rumors that ESPN would be starting to compose “Breaking News” for WWE like it would in other sports. An example was when former WWE employee and current ESPN analyst, Jonathon Coachman first tweeted that WWE’s champion Seth Rollins would be out six to nine months with a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus, thus needing to forfeit his title.

For years, WWE and ESPN’s SportsCenter have had somewhat of a relationship, with SportsCenter showing highlights of a WWE event if there was a main sports athlete involved.

Examples would be when Floyd Mayweather faced The Big Show at WrestleMania, Ronda Rousey showing interest, or as recent as this week’s Raw where soccer star Wayne Rooney slapped King Barrett. One can assume the partnership truly heated up on March 24, 2015 when Brock Lesnar had an interview on SportsCenter announcing his decision to retire from the UFC and sign with WWE long term. Lesnar, a former UFC champion, has been a feared and respected athlete for years. Someone of his caliber has caused a stir not seen before in the sports entertainment world. News outlets were sharing the information, and WWE and ESPN were getting linked together through tweets, posts, etc. The start of a bond was formed.

After what seemed like a one-time-only thing, a new tag team was created. There is now a weekly segment dedicated to WWE thanks to Coachman called “Off the Top Rope.” Each week an entertaining moment from WWE is analyzed while “The Coach” is joined by various superstars/wrestlers to talk about a cornucopia of topics. The SummerSlam pay-per-view was highlighted in its own segment on SportsCenter. ESPN has been name-dropped by WWE announcers every show. The alliance is undeniable.

The simple question everyone has is why? Well for one, ESPN is the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” and what’s more worldwide than WWE? The former World Wrestling Federation has an international following. As of July 2015, The WWE Network alone has over 1.156 million subscribers around the world. On November 2nd, the WWE Network launched in India, giving millions of people an opportunity to have access to all things WWE (for only $9.99 of course.) The partnership with ESPN can give WWE an opportunity for more publicity and expose more people who are interested in the Network. For ESPN, this coalition can help bring a diverse demographic into the fold. Ratings for both programs have decreased over the years, so any type of boost is always valuable.

As time goes on, both companies know they must adapt to survive. By thinking outside the box, both corporate entities have created a buzz in the media world, helping each other trend in today’s society. While Vince McMahon could be a factor in this, it is helpful that Triple H is behind the scenes to help create opportunities from seemingly nothing (like an RKO.)

Who knows where this partnership could lead to? Maybe ESPN providing all access coverage of WrestleMania?

Both companies are in the entertainment business so it was inevitable for a union to form. It’s a win-win for ESPN and WWE. And if you’re not down with that, I’m sure they both have “two words for ya…”

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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