WWE Strategic Marketing Case Study
21. november 2011 kl. 07:25
April 2, 2001 – When Vincent Kennedy McMahon, the muscular 6”1’ 56 year-old mercurial CEO, Chairman, and majority owner of WWE Inc., sauntered his way down to ringside amid 67,925 screaming fans at the Reliant Astrodome in Houston, Texas, for Wrestlemania 17; it marked the culmination of a golden era for the company and the height of its popularity.  The 3-hour spectacle headlined by WWE icons Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock broke attendance and box office records, accumulated $3.5 million dollars in ticket sales alone, sold just under a million Pay-Per-Views (PPV) at $50 a pop, and was the company’s highest grossing live event in history (WWE Inc, 2001).  For what started as a very popular, yet gimmicky family-friendly show during the 1980’s, the WWE quickly developed into an entertainment giant, revolutionizing pro-wrestling into an edgy, foul-mouthed, in-your-face, “sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll” product that hooked a young domestic male market and strongly established its legacy in mainstream pop-culture.
Soap Opera, Not Sport                          
For almost thirty years, McMahon has been driving and carefully positioning what he innovatively coined the “sports entertainment” business by providing a unique product to a fan base not reached through traditional sports.  Since taking over his father’s business in 1982, McMahon has established a reputation as a ruthless marketing genius.  McMahon says the WWE is not about selling sport, but selling entertainment.  McMahon also says that the product is not wrestling, but an action soap opera and the WWE are in essence storytellers (Meet The Boss TV, 2010).  McMahon’s focus on character development and providing compelling stories has been an effective strategy for winning the hearts and minds of its intensely loyal fan base.  For almost thirty years, McMahon’s successful positioning has made the entire pro-wrestling industry synonymous...