Before the in-ring action kicked off at Survivor Series at the Barclays Center on Sunday night, WWE hosted an upfront presentation for advertisers that laid out the company’s wide appeal with audiences.
“We have massive reach and broad distribution available in over 900 million homes, 180 countries, 28 languages, and — in a non-pandemic era — over 500 live events [per year],” said Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s chief brand officer. “That gives us the opportunity to engage with your brand globally, nationally, or locally.”
McMahon went on to tell those in attendance that WWE produces over 2300 hours of content per year, including the seven weekly hours of live programming among “Monday Night Raw,” “SmackDown Live,” and “NXT.” She also praised the company’s social media efforts, with over one billion followers across all platforms.
“Nine out of the top 15 most followed female athletes in the world across all social platforms are WWE superstars,” she said. “We are the number one most followed sports brand on TikTok…We are the number one sports channel on YouTube and the sixth most viewed channel on YouTube all around the world.”
“We have a young, diverse fanbase,” she continued. “Over 75% of our fans are in that sweet spot, 18-49. 40% of our audience is women and we over index with both African-American and Hispanic audiences.”
McMahon was followed onstage by Claudine Lilien, WWE’s head of global sales and partnerships, who reminded people that “WWE permeates our world probably more than you realize.”
“Whether it’s NBA star Joel Embiid imitating Triple H’s signature DX chop…or my son doing his best Randy Orton pose on a family trip, we can do things that traditional sports and entertainment companies can’t,” she said. “Whether it’s Bad Bunny or bottled water, WWE creates immersive experiences for our partners.”
“Just as we bring our content to life across all of our channels, we want to do the same for your brands,” she added. “That’s why we say we don’t have sponsors, just partners. Because sponsorship is passive but partnership is collaborative and dynamic. We have over 200 premium advertisers across multiple categories that have recognized the value of this approach.”
The formal remarks closed with WWE president Nick Khan in a Q&A with host Joe Tessitore. Khan spoke about WWE’s recent decision to move some PPV’s to Saturday nights, including the success they had with that strategy for SummerSlam in Las Vegas earlier this year, marking the first time the event was held on a Saturday. In another first, WWE recently released their entire 2022 PPV schedule, Khan said. SummerSlam was also held in a stadium for the first time since 1992, something Khan said the company will do more going forward.
“For the first time ever in 2022 we’re going to do five nights at stadiums,” he said. “Typically Royal Rumble and WrestleMania have been stadium events. We saw a gap in the marketplace where we can do more.”
Khan also discussed rights fees for major sports programming, such as the NFL, NHL, and Premier League soccer. The NFL is of course the leader, with the rights now worth $10 billion in the most recent 11 year deal. With the NHL, Khan pointed out that a decade ago the hockey league commanded approximately $200 million per year, whereas now it is worth $625 million a year. Khan then posited that the English Premiere League/NBC deal is worth $460 million and not the reported $450 million.
“You’re seeing these numbers continue to go up,” he said. “You’re seeing them go up for properties whose ratings are up, for properties whose ratings are stable, and even for properties whose ratings are down.”
One of the things that sets WWE apart, Khan said, is the fact that the company’s programming is on 52 weeks a year unlike traditional sports leagues.
“There’s no other sports-like programming that goes like that,” he said. “And for our sponsors, it allows you to stay present in the minds of the fans long beyond the end of the NFL season.”