WWE Expands ‘SummerSlam’ Promotional Efforts

The WWE is building momentum for its annual SummerSlam pay-per-view event this Sunday through a week-long schedule of marketing and promotional activities that it hopes will help pin down PPV buys.

SummerSlam, which takes place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, is the pro wrestling outfit’s second biggest PPV event behind WrestleMania. Since the WWE moved its SummerSlam event to Los Angeles five years ago the company has slowly increased its marketing push from two days to a full five-day lead-up to the event, according to WWE chief marketing officer Michelle Wilson.

SummerSlam marketing stunts include a first-ever press conference with WWE Superstars, anti-bullying rallies featuring local politicians and WWE talent; and SummerSlam Axxess, a two-day event launching Saturday that features autograph signings, interactive activities and live matches, according to Wilson. She said the WWE will also partake in a series of community programs that will feature nearly 300 WWE talent appearances.

“We’ve really dialed it up with our schedule of week-long activities,” Wilson said. “We’ve basically went from a one-day PPV event to a SummerSlam weekend to now evolving it to SummerSlam week.”

Wilson is hoping that the additional marketing efforts will help propel SummerSlam PPV buys. She said the company experienced a “significant” increase in PPV buys for last year’s show, although she did not reveal specific numbers.

To further increase event’s potential PPV performance, the WWE is making SummerSlam PPV event available on Sony’s PlayStation 3 gaming console. The event, which will retail at a suggested price of $44.95, will be offered to PlayStation3 owners as part of the console’s recently launched Live Events Viewer App, said Wilson. The event is also available on Microsoft’s XBOX 360 consoles, Samsung Smart TVs and on all Apple, Android and Windows 8 devices, as well as Kindle Fire tablets.

“We really want to continue to be on the leading edge in terms of platforms and where our fans want to watch,” Wilson said.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.