Kmart in WWE ring

Retailer signs on as events sponsor

World Wrestling Entertainment has pinned down its largest advertising deal with a single marketer to date, signing Kmart as the exclusive presenting sponsor of all of its live events, including pay-per-views like “WrestleMania” and its weekly TV shows on USA Network and Syfy through the rest of the year.

Kmart will pony up several million dollars to pair up the retailer with WWE’s 250-plus events. Specific financial figures were not revealed, but it’s said to be less than $10 million.

Deal officially starts March 1 and runs through Dec. 31. Timing comes as “WrestleMania 27” is set to take place in Atlanta on April 3. Altogether, pact includes the remaining 11 PPVs that WWE will produce this year.

It also covers TV shows like “Monday Night Raw” and “Friday Night SmackDown” that air each week on USA Network and Syfy, respectively.

Kmart will run 30-second spots during those shows, as part of the pact, benefitting those cablers, as well.

Either way, the exposure Kmart is paying to receive is considerable. In the past, WWE has inked deals with 7-Eleven, Slim Jim and the National Guard around individual PPVs. But given that WWE revolves around live events, Kmart will essentially serve as the company’spany’s primary advertiser across its core biz.

The retailer is guaranteed to appear on air during all of the TV shows and PPVs through graphics and signage in the arenas where the events are held. It will also be featured on all marketing materials, tickets, websites and in WWE’s magazines.

“WrestleMania” alone attracts over 70,000 WWE fans and this year’s show is aiming for a 1 million buy rate.

But weekly ratings for its shows and interest in “‘Mania” has now increased in recent weeks with Dwayne Johnson agreeing to return to the ring as The Rock, which will put the Kmart moniker in front of more viewers.

WWE has also created a “Live Tour” logo it will use across its properties and features Kmart embedded into the design.

In return, Kmart will promote WWE through sweepstakes and lucrative shelf space in its stores. Retailer will also host 12 in-store appearances by WWE’s wrestlers.

Kmart already had an existing relationship with WWE, having produced a “Royal Riches” campaign over the past three years, through which it gave customers discounts to the “Royal Rumble” PPV, depending on how much WWE-branded merch was purchased.

WWE apparel and toys have been consistent top sellers for the retailer, especially after a new line of playsets and action figures were produced by Mattel.

And with Kmart, which is owned by Sears Holdings, showing healthier sales overall it only made sense to court WWE’s fanbase with a larger partnership.

“Kmart is excited to expand its relationship with WWE,” stated Mark Snyder, chief marketing officer for Kmart. “This partnership will allow our customers to engage with an exciting entertainment brand and enjoy exclusive offers and promotions throughout the year.”

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