How do you make your sports event make an impact if it comes at a time when fans, consumers and media are being hit with messages about NCAA March Madness Final Four and championship games, MLB season openers, NBA, NHL, MLS, The Masters golf tournament and the upcoming NFL Draft?
If you are the WWE, and it’s WrestleMania, you do what you have always done: When they go big, you go BIGGER.
WrestleMania 33 presented by Snickers is scheduled for this Sunday (April 2) in Orlando’s Citrus Bowl (aka Camping World Stadium).
Most stars in the WWE universe will be there. That includes Goldberg, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesner, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Sasha Banks, Nikki Bella, Alexa Bliss, John Cena and the anticipated return of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who has transitioned from WWE star to the highest-paid star in Hollywood.
It also means activation from such marketing partners as Snickers, DiGiorno, Cricket Wireless, 5-Hour Energy, Mattel, Foot Locker and Puma.
WWE said sponsorship revenue has increased four times since 2010.
Snickers, which said it received about 1.5 billion media impressions from its sponsorship of WrestleMania 32, returns with a campaign anchored by “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” TV spots (via BBDO NY) with such WWE stars as Rusev, Bayley, Seamus, Ric Flair, The Miz and Maryse.
Snickers is also supporting with POP, a “complete brand takeover” of WWE’s YouTube channel on April 2 and other “custom digital and social content.”
WWE star Sasha Banks will appear in a TV spot as part of DiGiorno’s multi-platform alliance with WrestleMania 33.
Cricket Wireless has been running a WrestleMania sweepstakes and will have TV and other activation around the event, as will 5-Hour Energy.
WWE is not just targeting its core audience. Among others, WWE personalities have been on NBC’s “Today” and various ESPN platforms.
In addition, marketing partners will have a presence on WWE programming the week before (on USA Network and WWE Network) and then at live events in Orlando the weekend of and days after WrestleMania 33. That includes WrestleMania Axxess (a four-day, interactive fan festival), the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (sponsored by Mattel), NXT TakeOver, “Monday Night Raw” and “SmackDown Live.”
Via a new licensing and distribution deal with Foot Locker and Puma, WWE created a footwear and apparel collection that features such icons as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Ultimate Warrior, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Ric Flair, André the Giant and The Undertaker. The items will be available in limited edition beginning April 1.
The Orlando Citrus Bowl seats about 70,000, but the record attendance for the venue is 74,635, set in March 2008 during, of course, WrestleMania XXIV. WrestleMania 33 could top that mark.
It would, however, fall short of the all-time WrestleMania attendance figure, 101,763, set last year in AT&T Stadium — home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys — the highest-grossing and best-attended event in WWE history.
Spending by visitors to the Dallas/Arlington region for WrestleMania 32 generated more than $170 million, the fifth consecutive year that WrestleMania generated $100 million-plus in economic impact for its host region, according to a study conducted for WWE by the Enigma Research Corp.
Over the past 10 years, WrestleMania has generated almost $1 billion in cumulative economic impact for the cities that have hosted the event.
Even Florida Gov. Rick Scott knows WWE gold when he sees it. “Florida set a tourism record by welcoming (113) million visitors in (2016), and WWE will help bring even more visitors to Florida in 2017.”
“This is the intersection between sports and entertainment,” John Brody, evp-global sales and partnerships for WWE, tells Marketing:Sports. “It is resonating with fans, marketing partners and the media.”