ESPN is an acronym for the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. Since 1979, they’ve focused on the “S” in ESPN. Now, the sports-production juggernaut is putting more attention towards the entertainment side of their network. Like it’s been said before, the WWE used to be all about the wrestling. In today’s state, the WWE puts a lot of their eggs in the entertainment basket.
Vince McMahon has always said that he’s in the sports entertainment business. While his father, Vince McMahon Sr., built a wrestling territory, his son created World Wrestling Entertainment, which has a heavy focus on the entertainment portion. There’s one thing that separates the WWE from ESPN. ESPN hasn’t considered it a sport.
Since the results are pre-determined, the WWE always gets a negative stigma. The reason why SportsCenter doesn’t recap SummerSlam, WrestleMania, or the Royal Rumble, and why Monday Night Raw isn’t in their nightly rundowns. People don’t consider it a sport, like football, baseball, hockey, or basketball.
Despite the negative stigma, the WWE is making a new name for itself in the public eye. No longer is the WWE a pro wrestling company that showcases risque storylines, scantily clad women, and controversial moments. The WWE is PG and is about to embark on a huge partnership with the biggest sports network in the world. According to WrestlingInc.com, ESPN will begin to cover the WWE on a weekly basis with Jonathan Coachman.
“WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins appeared on tonight’s 9pm EST airing of ESPN flagship show SportsCenter. Rollins appeared in a segment that ran around 6 minutes with current ESPN anchor and former WWE announcer Jonathan Coachman.”
“The segment will air weekly on SportsCenter every Tuesday at 9pm EST. Apparently various WWE Superstars will be making appearances on the show.”
Whoever proposed the idea to ESPN is a genius. First, it was the WWE Network that set the standard for video streaming and on-demand content. Second, it was the WWE who began to put their pay-per-views on the WWE Network. That changed the entire spectrum of pay-per-views. Third, this partnership with ESPN will give the WWE its publicity they need right now.
WWE Raw‘s ratings haven’t been the best. Top Rope Press reported earlier today that the ratings for Monday’s episode hit a new non-Holiday low. Raw posted a 2.3 rating. The WWE is completely aware of this, which is why they’re stacking the deck at Hell in a Cell. Next week, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Brock Lesnar, and the Undertaker will be on the show.
Encapsulating all of that big news is the partnership with ESPN. They will have a giant platform to promote their product on a worldwide stage. The WWE is already a global product that is in need of promotion. The reaction from WWE fans is very optimistic.
I think the WWE and ESPN collaboration will help storylines (and ratings) progress and develop! This is exciting!
— Dewey Foley (@DeweyHaveTo) October 14, 2015
— Josh Isenberg (@JoshIsenberg4) October 14, 2015
Mick Foley’s son brought up something that hasn’t been talked about before. This could allow more storylines to develop on ESPN programming. While that sounds outlandish at first, think of the possibilities the WWE superstars will have on the microphone with Jonathan Coachman.
This isn’t a desperate act for better ratings. Vince McMahon landed on a goldmine of opportunity. ESPN will undoubtedly cover WrestleMania 32 next year, and possibly other pay-per-views along the way. Key in on the storylines the WWE utilizes on a weekly basis. ESPN could provide the WWE superstars a platform to build their program.
[Images via WWE and YouTube]