ESPN To Air "SportsCenter" Live From WrestleMania, Show Live Cut-Ins All Day
ESPN is bringing "SportsCenter" to AT&T Stadium on Sunday for WWE's WrestleMania. ESPN's Jonathan Coachman, a former WWE announcer, noted the net would air "live cut-ins all day long right up to the start of the show" at 7:00pm ET (“WWE Raw,” USA Network, 3/28). SI.com's Richard Deitsch noted ESPN's decision to feature more WWE coverage on "SportsCenter" is a "specific content play" for the net. ESPN has "long suspected there was a strong intersection" between WWE fans and its viewers, and there is now "data to prove it." ESPN’s New & Next Group, a 25-30-person group that focuses on new content plays for the company, "found that ESPN viewers are very interested in WWE content." The March 21 episode of "Raw," was the "most-talked about topic" among the nearly 26 million Twitter followers of "SportsCenter." ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer Glenn Jacobs asked, "Why should we not try to serve them? Data takes it out of the theoretical and into reality.” Deitsch wrote sports media outlets would be wise to cater to WWE fans when appropriate given its demos." Deitsch: "There's no doubt that some ESPN viewers will be unhappy seeing WWE programming on SportsCenter -- no, it’s not a sport -- but the idea that SportsCenter is sacrosanct regarding sports-only is long gone" (SI.com, 3/27).
DON'T GET USED TO IT: Radio host Dan Patrick said he understands why ESPN is increasing its WWE coverage, as it is “pretty transparent ... people aren’t watching ‘SportsCenter’ the way they once did.” However, Patrick said WWE fans are "being used.” Patrick: “It’s not like they care about the sport. They care about you the audience that they can now fill up ‘SportsCenter’ with. You can get better ratings there” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 3/29).
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES': CBS’ Rita Braver noted WrestleMania has become the "Super Bowl of American wrestling,” and for the “first time the success of wrestling’s biggest event will rest largely on the very strong shoulders” of Cowboys Exec VP & Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones Anderson and WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon. Anderson was the person responsible for landing WrestleMania "for her family’s AT&T Stadium.” She said, “I made the pitch of why we needed to be together and why WrestleMania had to occur here. When it was over (WWE Chair & CEO Vince McMahon) looked down the table and he said, ‘We're going to come to AT&T Stadium.’” Braver asked Stephanie McMahon while walking on the field at AT&T Stadium, “You expect every seat to be filled? Is that the idea?” She replied, “That's the goal” (“CBS New Sunday Morning,” 3/27).