AdAge has a big story on the WWE’s move to Fox ahead of the premiere of Friday Night SmackDown on October 4th.
The top news item from the piece is that Progressive Insurance is coming on board as the presenting sponsor of the series. The deal was brokered by Fox executive Seth Winter, who had ties with Vince McMahon and the WWF in the ‘80s when “Championship Wrestling” aired on WOR-TV out of New York.
“Championship Wrestling” was hosted by Vince McMahon and taped out of Philadelphia and later Allentown, Pennsylvania. The show would air at Midnight on WOR-TV, which was Channel 9 in New York.
The article states that twenty new sponsors are coming on board that had never advertised on professional wrestling programming prior. Among the groups that will be integrated into next Friday’s broadcast are Pizza Hut, Snickers, Boost Mobile, and Paramount to promote the upcoming film “Gemini Man” that stars Will Smith.
There should also be a big push for the premiere of SmackDown during Fox’s Thursday Night Football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers next week.
On the commercial front, Winter stated that the network may consider reducing the inventory loads of commercials in the range of 10-20% and unlikely to incorporate the double-box format during breaks.
WWE’s EVP of Global Sales John Brody spoke to AdAge and attributed their ability to reach blue-chip advertisers by going PG, which they transitioned their programming to in 2008. Brody added that their sponsorships have quadrupled in the past nine years.
The final note in the article hinted at a potential appearance by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on the premiere episode.