Facebook is getting into the ring with WWE, striking a deal to provide exclusive video highlights, interviews and other content on the social service for the entertainment company’s “WrestleMania 31” pay-per-view event Sunday.
The Facebook’s “Trending Wrestlemania” experience marks the first partnership between the two to deliver WWE fans near real-time event highlights during the telecast of the annual event. Content on Facebook, both before and after “WrestleMania 31” on Sunday, March 29, will include WWE Superstar ring entrances, match clips, interviews, locker-room commentary and training videos.
For Facebook, the deal continues its pursuit of media partnerships — and furthers its strategy of adding more video to the social giant’s portfolio. Among other recent pacts, ABC live-streamed “The Oscars Backstage” show on Facebook during this year’s Academy Awards.
“Facebook is a global leader and innovator in driving social conversation with the ability to reach a massive audience,” said Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s chief brand officer. “Our social experience during ‘WrestleMania’ will create opportunities for fans to further engage with WWE and provide them with more access to our superstars than ever before.”
WWE has worked with other players in the social space, including participating in Twitter’s Amplify program for ad-sponsored video tweets.
Facebook’s “WrestleMania” experience also will let fans see comments and posts from celebrities, WWE stars, news outlets, influencers and friends. During the telecast, WWE’s on-air announcers will encourage fans watching “WrestleMania” on WWE Network and pay-per-view to log on to Facebook, while fans attending the event in-person at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., will be able to check in on the service to join the conversation.
Additionally, WWE star Zack Ryder will lead a “Hide and Like” promotion through which fans will have the opportunity to find him in the San Jose area for a chance to win tickets to “WrestleMania 31,” “WrestleMania Axxess” and the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
“From exclusive WWE video content on Facebook, to creative integrations of the fan experience both in-venue and for TV viewers, we think this partnership with WWE will bring the social conversation around ‘WrestleMania 31’ to a whole new level,” said Dan Reed, Facebook’s head of global sports partnerships.
WWE has an avid following on Facebook, with its page on the site registering more than 24 million “likes.”
“Facebook is offering us this very unique opportunity — they’re a natural partner,” McMahon said. “We’re like a live-adventure action drama, and this will heighten the experience for our audience.”
In addition to “Trending WrestleMania,” the companies are working together during WrestleMania Week to give back to the local community. On Thursday, reps from Facebook’s global policy and safety division were in attendance at WWE’s Be a STAR (Show Tolerance And Respect) anti-bullying rally at Joseph George Middle School in San Jose, to discuss the tools that Facebook offers in order to combat cyberbullying.