By Barry Janoff
April 8, 2013: WWE is best know for the likes of John Cena, The Rock, Triple H and Wrestlemania.
Now add the Special Olympics to the list.
WWE said it has become a founding partner for the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, a national sports event scheduled for June 14-21, at various locations in New Jersey.
Nearly 3,500 athletes will compete in 16 Olympic-style team and individual sports, with the support of 1,000 coaches, 10,000 volunteers and an anticipated 70,000 spectators.
WWE joins a list of founding partners that include Barnabas Health, Hess, PSE&G and Toys “R” Us.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
“WWE is proud to serve as a founding partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and utilize our global platforms to bring more attention to the accomplishments of so many determined and extraordinary athletes,” Vince McMahon, WWE chairman and CEO said of the alliance, which was disclosed onstage Sunday (April 7) during Wrestlemania 29 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. “WWE, its superstars and employees look forward to being a part of these important events."
WWE said it would support the partnership via such platforms as TV, live events, digital and social media to "generate awareness and raise funds in support of the USA Games."
Under terms of the deal, WWE will serve as the official production partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, filming the Opening Ceremonies as well as producing daily recaps of the sporting competitions and special events throughout the Games. WWE said it would also produce an hour-long TV show highlighting the Games.
WWE superstars and divas will participate in various events in conjunction with the promotion of the 2014 USA Games, and WWE employees will serve as volunteers at the Games. In addition, WWE said it would make a financial contribution to support the Games.
The 2014 USA Games will be at Princeton University, Rider University, the College of New Jersey and Mercer County Park, with the Opening Ceremonies taking place at the Prudential Center in Newark.
Among those present when WWE unveiled its Special Olympics partnership were New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; 2014 USA Games chairman & CEO TJ Nelligan; president of Special Olympics, North America Bob Gobrecht; president of Special Olympics New Jersey Marc Edenzon; WWE evp-creative Stephanie McMahon and Special Olympics athletes Ashley Weber (New Jersey) and David Dennin (Connecticut).
WWE also revealed that WrestleMania 29 was the highest grossing live event in its history at $12.3 million and broke the record for MetLife Stadium’s highest grossing entertainment event as it played out before an announced attendance of 80,676. Wrestlemania 29 was broadcast on pay-per-view in more than 100 countries and 20 languages.
The attendance was second all-time for a Wrestlemania event. Attendance was 93,173 at WrestleMania 3, held at the Pontiac (MI) Silverdome on March 29, 1987, per WWE.
"We are proud to partner with the WWE so that we can expand our reach and showcase how remarkable our athletes truly are.”
WrestleMania 30 is scheduled for April 6, 2014, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
“As evidenced by WWE’s Be a STAR anti-bullying alliance, which aims to build a positive and equitable environment through education and awareness, we knew we found a perfect partner in the WWE for the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games,” TJ Nelligan said at Wrestlemania 29 regarding the WWE alliance. “The drive behind Special Olympics is to build communities of inclusion and acceptance for individuals with intellectual disabilities through sport. The 2014 USA Games is a celebration of these efforts on a national scale. We are proud to partner with the WWE so that we can expand our reach and showcase how remarkable our athletes truly are.”