On Thursday, ESPN unveiled its newest project, a vertical devoted to the WWE.
According to a press release, “WWE on ESPN” will “serve as a one-stop destination for content including match results, features, wrestler profiles, rankings, international wrestling, video and more.”
- Adam Schefter: Aaron Rodgers’ ‘Lose my number’ text came after the only text he ever sent Rodgers
- Fox announcer Joe Davis cites ‘oppressive Cuban government’ during WBC broadcast on FS1
- Stephen A. Smith on ‘coming’ ESPN cuts: ‘Hell, for all I know, I might be one of them.’
- Jamie Erdahl handles S-bomb from FAU’s Johnell Davis like a pro
“Professional wrestling fans are sports fans who are mobile, global and passionate,” said Chad Millman, ESPN vice president, editorial director, domestic digital content. “That’s the audience we’re in the business of serving.”
ESPN has been gradually expanding its wrestling coverage for a while now. Last year, the network began breaking WWE news and hosting SportsCenter segments with wrestling personalities.
In an interview with TheWrap, Millman said ESPN plans to treat the WWE like any other sports league and said he was encouraged by the response to John Cena’s turn hosting the ESPYs last month.
“It did speak to the relationship between sports fandom and wrestling fandom — and where the intersection is, which is why we are doing this right now,” he continued. “We see every day how passionate wrestling fans are and how often they are also sports fans. The way that they perceive wrestling and pro wrestlers is not that different to how we perceive other professional sports stars.
“We want to cover it like we do with any other sport such as the NFL, major league baseball, the NBA and everything else that we cover — with credibility and authenticity.”
Obviously the WWE is immensely popular, and ESPN is trying to tap into its rabid fan base. Pro wrestling is not a sport in the traditional sense, but it’s obviously sports-adjacent and has a large following among sports fans. ESPN has aired poker, billiards and video games, so scripted wrestling shouldn’t be considered too much of a leap.
Among the first stories on the new vertical are a piece about pro wrestling’s women’s division (which, as of about 1 p.m. ET is the lead story on ESPN.com), a consideration of Conor McGregor’s potential jump to WWE and an analysis by Darren Rovell of wrestling’s financial health.
Comments are closed.