NY Times Feature on WWE

April 27, 2008

Tomorrow’s edition of the New York Times features a piece on the success of the WWE called Better Days, and Even the Candidates, Are Coming to W.W.E. The article focuses on the company’s recovery from last years Chris Benoit scandal. Key exert (including Dana White quote):

Awash in cash, W.W.E. is investing globally. It currently shows programs in 23 languages in more than 130 countries, and is now concentrating on expansion in Latin America, China, India, Australia and Japan.

“Here’s the formula we’ve been using very successfully,” said Linda McMahon, the chief executive “We first introduce our product into the marketplace via the television show. Once we’ve introduced our talent and our story lines via television, then we follow with live events and licensing and merchandising.”

Such success abroad has come at an opportune time for W.W.E, which still faces considerable challenges at home. While the presidential candidates’ appearance on “W.W.E. Monday Night Raw” may attest to wrestling’s cultural significance in the United States, the show’s television ratings are down slightly year over year and it lost viewers in the 18-to-34 age group. Analysts say W.W.E. lacks the charismatic and marketable stars it once had.

Until recently, its domestic pay-per-view revenues had been declining, in part because of competition from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the leading brand in mixed martial arts.

But Dana White, president of the U.F.C., said: “People have been trying to count the W.W.E. out for years,” he said. “They’re a powerhouse.”

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