April 7, 2011: The sports company known worldwide for WrestleMania, Monday Night Raw, Hulk Hogan, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, "Triple H" and John Cena has had many official names in its history: Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd, Titan Sports Inc., World Wrestling Federation Entertainment and, since 2002, World Wrestling Entertainment.
Now, the Stamford, Conn.-based entity is changing its name again "to better reflect the company’s global entertainment offerings." Moving forward, World Wrestling Entertainment has rebranded itself as WWE, which embodies "a new business model for future growth."
“The new business model of the company better reflects what WWE is all about — being a global entertainment company,” Vince McMahon, chairman and CEO for WWE, said in a statement. “We will always be loyal to our core business that made WWE a globally known entity. However, the future of WWE will be the addition of new entertainment content opportunities beyond the ring.”
The rebranding initiative will be supported via a national consumer and business-to-business ad campaign, “Bigger. Badder. Better," which includes cable TV, print and online. WWE, whose roots date back to 1952, is expected to unveil marketing to support its 60th anniversary in 2012.
“The new business model of the company better reflects what WWE is all about — being a global entertainment company."
Although WrestleMania and familiar events will continue to be part of the strategy, WWE pinpointed two key components to its brand expansion: The "active pursuit to acquire entertainment content companies and the outsourcing of WWE’s core competencies: television and film production, live event production and licensing."
As part of the new business model, the company said it would also focus on the development of new TV products, including scripted, non-scripted and animated programs as well as the launch of a WWE network in the next 12-18 months.
WWE previewed some of its rebranding efforts during WrestleMania XXVII this past weekend in Atlanta. The first program of the brand expansion is Tough Enough, WWE’s reality program in which participants compete for a WWE contract. It ran on MTV from 2001-03 but re-debuted, this time on USA Network, on April 7.
Also supporting will be marketing partners including Kmart, the National Guard, Mattel and Vivendi Entertainment, which is WWE’s North American retail and rental distribution partner.
Last month, Wal-Mart signed a deal to become the exclusive retailer for WWE Studios’ films, covering the next five theatrical releases through 2012. The alliance gives Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Walmart.com the exclusive right to sell DVD and Blu-ray versions of the films for the first 90 days of release.
As part of the deal, Wal-Mart will be integrated into WWE’s multi-million dollar marketing campaign for each retail release across all WWE platforms. WWE said the partnership had a successful test run last fall with the in-store release of Legendary, starring Patricia Clarkson, Danny Glover and WWE star John Cena, which was available exclusively at Wal-Mart and distributed through Vivendi.
In addition to focusing on the expansion of the company, WWE said it would bolster its core business with the launch of a "talent development department" headed by Paul “Triple H” Levesque. The department will put a "greater emphasis on worldwide recruitment, training and character development to identify future WWE Superstars and Divas," according to WWE.
The WWE said it set new marks for the second consecutive year when WrestleMania XXVII on April 3 became the highest grossing and most attended entertainment event at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. According to WWE, WrestleMania XXVII grossed $6.6 million, with 71,617 in attendance.
Wrerstlemania XXVI set attendance and financial records at the University of Phoenix Stadium on March 28, 2010, with 72,219 at the venue and $5.8 million in gross sales. WrestleMania XXVIII is scheduled for April 1, 2012 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.