WWE has landed a major sponsor for their festive events, with Coca Cola set to lend their name to both the Tribute to the Troops special and the Slammy Awards episode of Monday Night Raw.
Wrestling Inc reported the Coca Cola sponsorship deal on Monday, with a press release issued by WWE suggesting “brand integration” throughout the patriotic military event.
For once, the announce table will be free of its usual bottles of Mountain Dew, with Coca Cola almost certainly going to position their own products in full view of the roving cameras.
Michelle Wilson, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer for WWE, expressed delight at the news of Coca Cola’s involvement at Tribute to the Troops.
“We are excited to partner with Coca Cola, an iconic, blue-chip brand that is dedicated to giving back to our nation’s heroes. Supporting our servicemen and women is a key part of Coca Cola’s DNA and we are proud to highlight their important efforts during our annual Tribute to the Troops event.”
The Tribute to the Troops event, which will air this year on December 23, has been an annual showcase for the last 13 years and will get a major boost due to Coca Cola’s involvement. The soft drinks company is one of the world’s most recognizable brands and could give WWE just the push it needs in an era of disappointing ratings.
Coca Cola has been a major brand target for Vince McMahon for a long time, according to Wrestling Observer Newsletter writer Dave Meltzer. This new deal will have McMahon rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of being able to boast a high-profile attachment with a brand that is a genuine household name worldwide.
WWE recently got a bump in ratings after a hot episode of RAW, in which the World Heavyweight Championship was placed around the waist of Roman Reigns. McMahon himself also made a rare appearance to help give the show an extra edge.
The company will be hoping that Coca Cola involvement can help to consolidate that increase in viewership moving into the New Year and WrestleMania season.
What Culture wrote that Coca Cola is incredibly valuable to Vince McMahon in encouraging fans to embrace the TV-PG rating of his current programming, which has drawn criticism for shedding the violence and sexuality that characterized WWE during the famed Attitude Era.
“NBC Universal has worked hard to change the advertising industry’s perception of WWE. In 2016 there will be five hours prime time WWE on USA Network each week. That financial stake is why NBC Universal helped get new sponsors on board, and landing Coca Cola is a sign that the effort paid off.
“A family friendly sponsor of this magnitude would never have touched WWE in the past. This is why Vince McMahon continues to push WWE as PG, as it opens up the door for stronger and wider business relationships. Going back to an era like the nineties is unfathomable right now.”
The Coca Cola brand is certainly more appropriate to the modern wrestling landscape than it would have been in the age of Goldust’s sexually ambiguous character, or Val Venis gyrating on screen as part of his porn star gimmick. Coca Cola wouldn’t have touched WWE back then, but the company is now a potential partner.
McMahon and his promotion are currently entering the most lucrative period of their calendar as the Royal Rumble draws closer and WrestleMania looms on the horizon, with the 80,000 seat AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas to fill.
Corporate sponsors can only help the company at this time of year, and Coca Cola is about as big as they come.
[Photo by WWE]