World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has often rejected digital expansions, but, thanks to the overwhelming trend that is the internet, is now highlighting their dependency on the medium on the eve of their yearly Summerslam event. This shift in attitude towards digital distribution has come largely from social media; their Monday Night Raw is often a trending topic during live shows, revealing a legion of fans behind the keyboards watching their programming and willing to spread the word. As expansive as that fan base is, World Wrestling Entertainment is hoping the monetization of their combined product will take hold in even more homes in more than one way.
Their newest project is a card game titled WWE Supercard that takes peoples favorite wrestlers and puts them into card battling arenas. Players will be able to take their packs into exhibition and King of the Ring tournaments, battling for currency to unlock more cards. Taking cues from fellow card collecting game Hearthstone, there is an option to purchase a Superstar Pack containing one “common” or “epic” tier wrestler for $1.99. Those options extend up to Epic Packs that contain a superstar of “epic” or “legendary” status and cost $25.00. Anyone interested can download this title for free on their Android or IOS devices as of today.
This is far from their biggest push; the perennial wrestling company has placed a great deal of stock into the digital audience of their WWE Network as it expands just before Summerslam. So much so that failing to meet projections based on their first six months of operation lead to seven percent of the company, including on-screen talent, being released. This restructuring has brought about to two huge changes with the Network business strategy: a drop in subscription price and a month-to-month payment option, and a global expansion to over 200 million new possible subscribers. While launching into over 170 countries, the number above represents those that have capable broadband access to run the Network.
Summerslam itself looks to take over Twitter and the internet for a short time as many pay-per-view events from the company do. There has been quite a push for returning part-time wrestler Brock Lesnar who ended the legendary streak of The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30 and has returned to fight baby face John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Elsewhere on the card has one of the company owners, Stephanie McMahon, wrestling Brie Bella with each looking for revenge over lies and staged arrests. Other mid-card matches include Bray Wyatt against longtime wrestler Chris Jericho, and The Miz fighting Dolph Ziggler with a title in the balance.
On the eve of Summerslam, WWE has expanded their digital audience by more than one entertainment source. Their Supercard game aims to give fans portable entertainment with their brand name while the Network expansion makes it available on most devices with an internet connection. With Summerslam second only to Wrestlemania in popularity, WWE is pushing quickly to bring as many eyes to their product as possible to prove that their model is reliable and profitable.
By Myles Gann