Tuesday, May 22, 2018

2018 WWE Business Partner Summit - transcript by @Wrestlenomics

2018 Business Partner Summit

During WrestleMania Week, WWE’s executive team discussed the company’s record-breaking year and its 2018 strategic plans at the annual Business Partner Summit. This year’s Business Partner Summit was hosted by Renee Young and Byron Saxton and included appearances by WWE Superstars John Cena, Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair, Elias, The New Day, Bayley and Bobby Roode.
  • WWE’s Business Strategy: Record-Breaking 2017 Results and Road Map for 2018 (Michelle Wilson and George Barrios)
  • WWE Brand: 2017 Successes (Stephanie McMahon)
  • Sales and International (John Brody)
  • Digital and Social Media (Jayar Donlan)
  • Talent Recruitment and Global Localization (Paul “Triple H” Levesque)
  • WWE’s Business Partner of the Year Award presented to Cricket Wireless (John Cena and Charlotte Flair)

"Silence your cell phones. Unless you have a Cricket Wireless plan. Then, by all means, do your thing."
(Calls out a Boys & Girls Club exec - Frank Sanchez. “You’ve been yapping all morning. You do a lot of great things for the Boys & Girls Club, but this is a the Elias show.”)
I talk to my friends at KFC
Because the next colonel Sanders should be me
I ate a Snickers, I know this much is true
When you’re hungry you’re not you
(You know what I’m saying Ray, right? When you’re hungry you’re just not yourself. But hey, thanks for the commercial.)
IGN makes the games we play
They know entertainment, that much I say.
(We got) Rocket League & Final Fantasy
But on the cover of 2K19 should be me.
(I mean, come on, look at this face. Am I right? Of course I’m right!)
So let’s walk
Everybody let’s walk
Everybody in the BPS rocks
So right now with Elias let’s walk
Put my songs on YouTube or SnapChat
Topps Cards and Mattel is where it’s at
Wear Old Spice if you want to walk with me
We’ve got Mixed Match Challenge on Facebook reinventing TV
(See) I’m an icon here, thanks to NBC
I’m even bigger in India because of our friends at Sony
ProSieben Max brought me to Germany
And get this, China walks with Elias thanks to PPTV
So let’s walk
Everybody let’s walk
Everybody in the BPS rocks
So right now with Elias let’s walk
Hello everybody and welcome to the 2018 Business Partner Summit
Byron: It is an honor to be oates to your hall.
From investors to licensees to domestic and international media partners to non-profit organizations and to many more, today is our opportunity to demonstrate a clear direction of where WWE is  headed and express our appreciation for your support.
Byron: What would WrestleMania week be without a little competition?
Renee: How many times do I have to beat you in arm-wrestling before you’ll let it go?
Bad arm-wrestling jokes
Byron: Today we will honor the Partner which has achieved the highest “rate of engagement for our collective audiences across multiple lines of business”.
Renee: Now just like everyone else here, and around the world, we are big WWE fans at heart. We can talk all day about Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar and Charlotte Flair vs Asuka.
With a little help from WWE’s most Glorious superstar, please welcome co-Presidents Michelle Wilson & George Barrios along with WWE superstar Bobby Roode.
WWE’s Business Strategy: Record-Breaking 2017 Results and Road Map for 2018 (Michelle Wilson and George Barrios)
Michelle: "How's that for an entrance? Thank you Bobby."
George: "I want that robe though."
Michelle: “Yeah, Me too. Me too.”
When it comes to Sports Entertainment, nobody does quite it like WWE.
We’re very proud of our legacy of success and more importantly what the future holds for WWE and all of our partners.
Awhile back, Forbes asked one of their top portfolio managers Michael Lippert about companies he invests in..
And What Lippert said was “we focus on companies that are innovativing and disrupting their industries…”
The true innovators, the true visionaries will come up with something that we can’t even IMAGINE today And the greatest companies are actually willing to disrupt themselves.
Article: “The Greatest Companies Are Willing to Disrupt Themselves”
October 2013 Article by Wallace Forbes interviewing Michael Lippert https://www.forbes.com/sites/wallaceforbes/2013/10/23/the-greatest-companies-are-willing-to-disrupt-themselves
MICHELLE WILSON: Let’s think about that in the context of WWE’s business. From the Time WWE started at the “Cape Cod Coliseum” over 40 years ago,
The spirit to reimagine is at the very core of who we are as a brand.
And we do this by remaining fan focused.
Then Now Forever is more than our tagline
It’s actually our call to action for how we do business
We draw from our past and we reimagine every day across every line of our business to make sure that we’re poised for future success
It’s been the driving force behind yet another incredible year
A year that would not have happened without all of your fantastic partnership.
GEORGE: If you take a look at where we were and we are today, it really becomes evident just how we reimagined WWE
It’s like Michelle said, transform the business.
Take the area of content distribution - delivering Video around the world.
In the 80’s, it was literally picking up canisters, little film canisters, getting on a bus, and driving to about a dozen northeast TV stations.
Those shows aired from Bangor, Maine to Washington, DC.
So now you fast-forward to today and boy have we reimagined video delivery.
We create around 1,500 hours of content every year across our entire ecosystem and deliver it to 180 countries.
So, includes Traditional TV around the world, our digital and social platforms like YouTube and FaceBook.
Or our own WWE.com and of course we do it direct to consumer with on our own WWE Network.
MICHELLE WILSON: In the area of consumer products, when we were just a touring company, you could buy anything you wanted as long as it was a t-shirt or a program.
Now you fast-forward and we are in more than one hundred categories with over 10,000 items with 200 partners globally, many of whom are of course with us today.
We are a one billion dollar retail business, and that’s around the world.
We are consistently the #1 best-selling action figure in the toy aisle - #1 - that puts ahead of strong brands like Star Wars and Marvel Avengers.
And our e-commerce business, WWEShop, we set an all-time record which was further magnified with partnerships like online retailers such as Amazon around the world, TMall in China and The Souled Store in India.
Today you’re going to hear more examples like this from Stephanie, Paul, John and Jaydar about how we have reimagined every line of our business from brand strategy to talent development, live events, sales, sponsorship and of course, digital and social.
GEORGE: So before we deep-dive into those areas, let’s step back and let’s take a look at 2017.
2006 was $400 million in revenue, terrific. Incredibly, another record breaking performance. Over $800 million. 2017 we doubled that number.
It’ was the fourth straight year of record revenue for WWE.
We also ended the year at $112 million of (adjusted) OIBDA. Up 40% from 2016. Also surpassed the target we set at the beginning of the year.
Revenues from outside the US, now exceed $225 million.
What’s really exciting, with nearly 80% of WWE Video consumed outside the US and only about 30% of our revenue generated outside the U.S. creates a long tailwind for us.
In our digital business, it’s amazing, and you’re going to hear a lot about it and it includes anything we monetize on a digital platform. Michelle talked about eCommerce WWEShop, our largest business the WWE Network and YouTube.
This is now “$280 million revenue”
In 2010, only 10% of our revenue came on these digital platforms. Now it’s over a third. It’s a much bigger business.
MICHELLE: Now we’d like to share with you a few of our key milestones.
Exactly one year ago. We talked about building brands across multiple platforms to help you leverage WWE’s vast fan base.
We said that we were going to super-serve our audience from pay tv to direct-to-consumer wwe network to digital and social platforms. And guess what? We did it.
Our flagship long-form shows are the core of our content ecosystem and remain the #1 and #2 shows on USA Network and of course a ratings powerhouse with all our television partners around the world.
Monday Night Raw remains the longest-running weekly episodic television show in US History. And guess what the #2 show is? Of course, SmackDownlive.
In 2017, we added 2,000 hours of content including in-ring shows NXT, 205 Live, our UK Championship Tournament and of course the Mae Young Classic.
Amazingly, since the Network launched just four short years ago.
We’re up to 10,000 hours of content. Guess what? We’re not going to stop there. Let’s take a look at what’s coming to the WWE Network.
MICHELLE: I’m really excited about all that content.
In the area of digital, WWE had 20 billion views last year across all of our platforms.
That’s an increase of 32% from the prior year with of course YouTube leading the way.
Again it was a another milestone for the records.
Our head of digital content, Jayar Donlan will tell you more about our success in our digital space plus some new initiatives.
GEORGE: You probably figured out that we told you what we were going to do, and then we did it. One of those things we said is that we were going to localize a lot more content for our international markets.
So, internationally, we’re connecting with our fans on a much more local level, reimaging WWE beyond just Raw & Smackdown, but creating great new content, in local language, and most importantly with local personalities - local flavor.
We’ve done this in India, we’ve done in the Middle East. Most recently Latin America.
These concepts, these shows have become a template for us - how we can create fresh local content and serve our fans in these countries and put more smiles on their faces. 
And we’re going to do more of that around the world.
When we look at our overall performance, we successfully logged $53 million in global sponsorships and digital advertising last year. I know I’m excited to hear John Brody talk about what more we’re going to do.
We also said that we were going to engage with the next generation of WWE fans
We did that in a big way with over 850 million social media followers across all of our platforms; they’re sharing our content and they’re watching it over and over again.
In fact, we had over one billion social media engagements in 2017 alone.
We also continued to create new ways to introduce kids to WWE with the launch of our new mobile game “Tap Mania” in partnership with Sega.
Amazingly, it debuted as one of the top ten games in the US App store with 3 million downloads.
And finally, our WWE superstars continue to represent our brand across pop cultures shows such as Disney’s Walk the Prank and Nickelodeon’s Paradise Run. And you’ll hear more the strength of our brand and how we remain relevant from our chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon.
We also said we’re going to focus on creating more content to expand our reach. We did that too.
In fact, we took a hard look at the WWE Studios model to extend WWE’s reach beyond just the traditional theatrical releases, home entertainment to also include content for linear television, digital platforms, both short form and long form across every genre.
Two great examples of that Pivot are “The Miz and Mrs.” documenting the lives of The Miz and Maryse that going to premiere on the USA Network this Summer. We’re really excited for that.
We had a new document documentary that we created in partnership with HBO about my all-time favorite WWE superstar Andre the Giant. And it’s premiering this Tuesday on HBO.
We’re actually really excited to invite everyone who is here today for a special screening. It starts at 1 today.
MICHELLE: For WWE to get to the next level of performance and growth, we must once again, reimagine everything from creating content to engaging with our fans. For 2018 our goal again, no surprise, is to achieve record revenue and record profits.
When we think about the future we think there are three things that are incredibly important and they are three strategic shifts that are going to happen in our company over the next 12-15 months.
The first one determining our distribution strategy for our longform content Raw and SmackDown. We currently have a number of our TV rights renewals on the horizon making this a critical and unique moment in the history of WWE.
We are very grateful for our longterm partners such as NBCUniversal, Sony and Sky and all of our television partners around the world as live content continues to drive value across all of our platforms.
GEORGE: The second of our three areas that Michelle mentioned is controlling our direct to consumer destiny by continuing to invest heavily in data and technology.
We are reimagining the future of delivering the whole WWE experience - video, consumer products, tickets - direct to our fans.
Because you see the WWE Network isn’t just about video. It’s really the fulcrum - the hub - of our entire direct-to-consumer strategy. It’s the catalyst - the platform to be able to do it on a long global scale.
So, if we continue to evolve WWE on the Network, we’re going to make it bigger and we’re going to make it better.
We’re going to offer something to every one of our fan’s lifestyles - their viewing habits and most important their budget. As well as rolling out a tiering of the product.
This will give us the ultimate control of our platform and our destiny.
Now internally, we’re working through this. We’re calling it Network 2.0
GEORGE: I promise we’ll come out with a better name when we launch it.
MICHELLE: We will, I promise.
GEORGE: We definitely will.
We’re working on this new experience with multiple partners. Again, a platform that’s going to transform every facet of WWE.
It really is mind-boggling; today we integrate thousands of data points for millions of users, allowing us to personalize how our biggest fans experience WWE.
This data tells us everything we need to know about let’s say about a WWE fan like Claire so we can tailor her WWE experience. It turns out Claire is a big Roman Reigns fan and loves coming to live events and likes to sit ringside.She’s on the WWE every day. On Sundays, when a PPV is on, she’s on for four or five hours.
She loves WrestleMania. She doesn’t just watch it once. She likes to watch it over and over again.Knowing all this means we can customize Claire’s experience and hopefully put more smiles on her face whenever she touches WWE.
It wasn’t that long ago, Four years, we launched the Network. We used to have four or five difference experiences that fans would have. Today it’s hundreds.  Tomorrow it will be thousands. Personalization.
We are on a journey to be a data powerhouse.
MICHELLE: Our third strategic area is continuing to focus on the opportunity for international growth as George mentioned.
We are laser-focused on key territories from India to the Middle East to China.
We’re going to capitalize on these regions with more localized content, local language, and local personalities. Again, as George mentioned. We see this aLs an enormous opportunity for growth for WWE.
So again the next 12-15 months are incredibly important for WWE; we’re very proud of the success we’ve accomplished with all of you, and we’ll continue to be in innovators and reimagine what the future holds for all of us.
Renee: Wow! Michelle & George! I mean, what an incredible year. Killed it.
Byron: As you just heard, WWE’s commitment to innovation and reaching new audiences is what drives us to the forefront of the marketplace. And our first business partner of the year nominee truly exemplifies this innovative spirit with their continued success and no no-holds-barred approach to Immersive experiences. Tag-teaming with WWE to develop new products that appeal to a Broad audience and a marketing campaign that can tell
Immersive experiences, tag-teaming with WWE to bring new products that appeal to a broader audience and a marketing campaign that compelled to be like no one.
This indicative game now features over 1,600 Superstar cards.
Our partnership with 2K and Super Card has been a direct result of 2K’s innovative marketing & strategy.
WWE Brand: 2017 Successes (Stephanie McMahon)
Chief Brand Officer - Stephanie McMahon
It’s amazing to come out here and see all your faces.
Stephanie mentions that “her mom is sitting in the front row.” Crowd politely applauds.
According to Einstein, “imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Aesop said, “The level of our success is limited only by our imagination”
What does it mean to reimagine your company, your brand, your life?
Vince McMahon is constantly reimagining WWE.
It’s how he was able to take a regional business in the 1970s and turn it into a global media powerhouse known from every street corner in the United States to favelas in Brazil to high rises in Shanghai and everywhere in between through digital and social media.
He started with the brand. Before anything else, Vince wanted to upgrade the image of what was known as Professional Wrestling.
He was able to stand in the back of a smoke-filled armory watching hundreds of people shout at the performers in the ring and re-imagine the future.
He was able to see that armory transform into a stadium, much like the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome which will be filled with over 75,000 people tomorrow night, surrounded by families, that are chanting, cheering, and holding up signs and having the time of their life.
The smoke now is from the pyrotechnic display. The vendors are selling WWE Superstar merchandise and the energy is palpable.
That reimagined event is known as WrestleMania and it’s the reason that we’re all here today and why people are coming over all from all 50 states and over 60 countries.
They’re descending upon the city of New Orleans.
In fact, WrestleMania has become so successful that Forbes has recognized WrestleMania as one of the top ten most valuable Sports brands in the world for the past four consecutive years.
Today the name WrestleMania is recognized by 8 out of 10 adults in America. And 9 out of 10 adults recognize the brand WWE.
But in the 80s, we weren’t so well known.
Back then, WWE was available through syndication and our first television deal with then fledgling cable network USA Network was signed.
But advertisers either had an adverse reaction to the words Professional Wrestling or they simply didn’t understand what it was.
So how could we create a term, or a label that potential partners could understand?
How could we describe that the WWE was based on larger-than-life characters enthralled in a relatable storylines?
That is when we coined the term, “Sports Entertainment”
Today you can see the ripple-effect of that phraseology when you look at ESPN - the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. Justin Timberlake performing at the Super Bowl. Shikara performing at the World Cup or the advent of infotainment as news is often called today.
I mean, think of any newsroom you’ve ever heard of.
What is the one story every editor asks: What is the story?
WWE’s ability to reimagine storytelling is probably our greatest asset.
Whether it was capturing the all-American fervor of the 80s, the spirit of the anti-hero of the 90s, or the rise of the underdog in the 2000’s.
A writer from the Washington Times even credits WWE with inspiring reality television.
“The entire reality television industry? Born out of the foundation of wrestling - scripted dramatic conflict posing as reality”.
And in 2008, ten years ago, WWE once again re-imagined our content and made the strategic decision to become more family-friendly to grow our multi-generational audience and attract more blue-chip partners.
Looking around the room here today, it’s easy to see that this strategy worked.
Our tenacity to grow and reimagine the WWE brand has never been stronger.
Which is why our executive team has been empowered to reimagine every line of business and to “Treat each day like it’s your first day on the job”.
This entrepreneurial approach teaches all of us to challenge the status quo every day of the week.
Today our brand strategy is about positioning WWE alongside Fortune 500 companies, being a part of pop culture and enhancing and expanding our partnerships.
For instance, this January, WWE was a part of the conversation with World Economic Forum in Davos. And in October, a part of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit.
John Cena is a regular guest host for the Today Show and was the host of the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards for the second consecutive year. He also starred in several theatrical releases including the Academy-award nominated Ferdinand which I highly recommend if you haven’t seen it yet.
The New Day competed in a lip sync challenge on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Maryse wrote a celebrity blog about her preparation for motherhood in People dot Com
The Rock is one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood according to Forbes
And Ronda Rousey, one of the greatest athletes in the world today, the first-ever female UFC champion and who also starred in Entourage, Furious 7 and the Expendables 3, recently became WWE’s newest superstar.
And unfortunately for me, my opponent, tomorrow night.
Please wish me luck, I could really use it.
Perhaps the best representation of WWE’s brand strategy in action is with one of our longest standing partners, NBCU, as we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw this past January.
We partnered with NBCU to take over the news & media landscape with appearances on the Today Show, NBC Nightly Show and the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Interviews in Variety, AdWeek and Forbes among others.
The Empire State Building was lit Raw red.
One little boy named Able and wrapped his arms around my husband
What made this event even more special, was two children came back to say thank you to their favorite superstars - they overcame their illness They were just returning to say thank you and show how the impact of one wish could really make a difference in one child’s life. ALl nine children were in attendance for the
That was most
The most social episode of all time.
WWE Mission is to put smiles on people’s faces the world over.
If we’re doing our jobs right, we create moments and memories that last a lifetime.
Moments like when WWE Hall of Famer Lita announced at WrestleMania 32 on the garndest stage, announced the rebranding and the female performers became superstars just like the men.
Moments like when the female superstars became the main event
Moments like the first ever women’s Hell in a Cell Match, Money in the Bank match,
The first ever WWE women’s match in Abu Dhabi that took place last year in December last year where Sasha Banks competed against Alexa Bliss for the Women’s championship.
And a chant broke out in the arena, with men and women shouting “This is Hope. This. Is. Hope.”
Sasha Banks spoke of seeing tears in the eyes of little girls. The impact of that moment is what WWE is all about.
Thank you for being our partners and helping us reimagine ways to put smiles on people’s faces and create memories that last then, now and forever.
Byron: Stephanie just spoke about how
Moments don’t just last
Business Partner personifies our mission to put smiles on people’s faces.
Sales and International (John Brody)
So back in the 90s, our international and sales division delivered content in four languages, and one of our leading sponsor partners at the time enlisted Macho Man Randy Savage to urge fans to snap into a Slim Jim for a little excitement. Today we’re delivering content in over 25 languages, with over 50 Global sponsors reimaging WWE all around the world.
Thanks to the commitment of all of you in the room, we today have a transformation story to tell.
On the international front we’re taking more steps to deliver more and serve our fans everywhere in truly innovative ways.
About nine months ago, my role expanded to include leading the day-to-day operations of our international business.
It quickly became apparent to me that deepening the connection between our global fans and partners is all about positioning - positioning WWE’s unique assets in ways that no other sports or entertainment property can.
As you heard earlier, nearly 80% of WWE content consumption occurs internationally.
We’re in over 180 markets reaching 800 million households each and every week.
In 2017, we delivered more than 80 live events in 25 countries outside the US.
We have unmatched scale in digital video consumption and a truly massive global following.
We’re committed to building on this reach by evolving the model and further engaging all of our audiences.
Our localization strategy - it’s about delivering an authentic experience in the voice of our fans in ways that they can connect to - with talent that reflects the diversity of the WWE Universe.
Beyond the localization that you’ve already heard about, there’s other exciting news.
We’ve completed new content distribution agreements in Australia (Nine), France (L’Equipe), Japan (DAZN), New Zealand (Sky) and South Korea (IB Sports) among others.
In addition, we launched a new multi-year partnership with SuperSport - Africa’s Premier Sports Broadcaster, reaching fans in more than fifty countries throughout Sub Saharan Africa.
Building on this momentum, we’ll be returning to South Africa with four live events in 2018.
We’ve also made progress localizing in-language television.
We launched the WWE Network in China with our partner PPTV. And last April, with PPTV, we broadcast WrestleMania 33 in English and Mandarin as China’s first ever live pay-per-view.
We’re aggressively building on these successes with additional new localized content. For instance, working closely with our partners in Germany, ProSiebenMAXX, we’re working on a family-focused highlight show to air every week, expanding our fanbase and delivering that valuable in-language content.
On the sponsorship side, we’re working closely with brands like Anheuser-Busch, Cooper Tires, Warner Bros, Hardee’s and PepsiCo in regional marketing partnerships.
In our consumer products business, we’ve expanded our brick and mortar retail distribution to leading stores in the UK,Germany and in Spain while continuing to push and expand our global ecommerce footprint.
So looking ahead, we’re going to continue to reimagine our business - working with all of you to deliver more. More in-market interactions through deeper localization. More global partnerships and sponsor activations. More opportunities to grow and develop our CPG business
Because we want more for our fans and our partners.
With this in mind, our global sales business, it’s a powerful example of how we reimagine the strength of WWE.
We are able to provide one-stop marketing solutions that integrate our brand in authentic and truly differentiated way.
We create these opportunities because we have the tools
We deliver the talent
We produce the creative
We collaborate with our broadcast partners
We integrate into live events like no one else can
And we generate media impressions across all screens across all parts of the world
So combining these capabilities we bolster our creativity and been able to really deliver results
We grew the business in 2017 increasing revenue by 30% and we’ve quadrupled sales since 2010.
Most importantly our partners, you, are not simply leasing our logo.
You’re co-branding, and activating and creating. This is a testament to our strategy - delivering fan-focused unique sponsorships - partners crave it, fans deserve it.
I’d like to share with you a couple examples.
Last year’s Business Partner of the Year. Proud sponsor of WrestleMania for the third  consecutive time.
They’ve seen meaningful lift in same-store sales  each year of our partnership.
Leveraging their position with us around WrestleMania. Snickers incorporated WWE superstars into their award-winning hungry campaign.
Gaming giant Rocket League joined us in 2017
3 Billion Impressions
The brand saw an 83% increase in awareness
We had fun working with KFC tying their colonel into our content like no one else could.
From a player Colonel character in WWE 2k18
The Colonel Rumble culminated in a historic victory by Colonel Flair.
All of us at WWE are inspired every day by the company we keep.
We’re grateful to have a field of dynamic, truly successful partners all around the world.
The best is yet to come
I hope you enjoy the magic & mystique of New Orelans and WrestleMania 34.
AS you see our partnerships extend around the world and
As you heard from John in international, the global connection between WWE and our fans spans continents, languages and generations.
Our next business partner of the year nominee is eager to show that even Germany is no exception.
Germany’s premiere sports entertanment destination and since APril 2017 WWE is the channel’s cornershtore
Digital and Social Media (Jayar Donlan)
Please welcome Jayar Donlan with WWE Superstars the New Day.
As WWE’s Executive Vice President of Booty-O’s, Trombones, and all things having to do with Pancakes, we have the honor of introducing a man, a man who is so much more than the Mozart of digital and social content, today, this man becomes an honorary member of New Day.
Allow us to introduce to you Jayar Donlan.
You heard us say you’re an honorary part of New day. As the New Day does, we’re going to have to see those hips.
As you’ve heard from Michelle & George, the digital & social platforms are key to our ecosystem.
Looking back at the origins of our content, we only had the live event platform to tell our story and the scale was limited to what you experienced at an event, word of mouth and print magazine.
WWE always had the vision to reimagine content across all mediums.
We recognize the importance of moving beyond traditional platforms to become a trailblazer in this area.
At the heart of all of it, it’s extending the WWE story 24/7 through our efforts to constantly be connected and engaged with our passionate fans.
Understanding key trends helps us to work with our audiences, listen and make sure we’re all speaking the language that is WWE.
A few major trends that help shape our digital and social content strategy:
First, video consumption is moving the digital platforms.
Facebook and google are the leaders
In Fact, 2017 was the first year that more advertising dollars went towards digital.
Second, the next generation is the fans. Brands that Lean in now have an opportunity to future-proof their audience by Meeting millennials and gen z on the platforms of their choice.
Third, according to former wall street securities analyst and top venture capitalist Mary Meeker, Video Games and e-sports are crawling into nearly every facet of our lives.
We have reimagined our social and digital strategy based on insights we gained from trends like these.
A great example is our partnership with FaceBook on Mixed Match Challenge
One night, roughly a year ago, I was brainstorming with Davey, our partner at Facebook
How can we extend time spent with our video content on the platform?
Should we produce more shoulder programing, simulcast our content or test tertiary markets?
Ultimately we decided we had to do what WWE does best - which is Superstar-driven, in-ring action.
We are the first live professional sports property that produced specifically for Facebook with a new in-ring series streaming live in the US exclusively on facebook watch.
Mixed Match Challenge is a perfect example of how we’re making our in-ring content easier to consume.
Infusing interactivity and super serving our fans: When they want, Where they want, On the device they want.
The show has become a template for the future our content living on new platforms.
Variety conducts a survey that highlights popular of YouTube stars among teens
If you’re 13-18 years old, your favorite digital personality is likely more recognizable to you than a A-list celebrity like a Jennifer Lawrence or Seth Rogan.
We’ve developed more content around social influencers going directly to them.
This not only keeps us engaged with the next generation of WWE fans and but also extends the reach for all of you, our partners. We’re working with a number of NFL players with the all star Madden challenge.
We’re even bringing in new talent and cultivating a following around them.
WWE’s Now Cathy Kelley is great example and a unique talent in that she debuted in the digital world. Today she hosts our most popular digital and social show.
WWE Superstars the Bella Twins were recently awarded the Golden Play button by YouTube and have more subscribers than a brand like Bravo.
Trends telling us they are watching eSports watching their favorite teams compete.
This is a sold out Staples Center packed with eSports fans.
We see
Next generation of fans
We’re seeing more millenials and genZ with our strategy with our gaming YouTube channel UpUpDownDown
That’s more than Major League Baseball, NHL and NASCAR YouTube channels
WE partnered with IGN to reimagine gaming with the WWE and IGN eSports showdown.
Where WWE competed in a virtual battle; eSports Showdown had more than 7+ million views.
This is a great example of how we can extend the conversation and remain relevant and topical to our fans based on their interests.
We’re also exploring virtual and augmented reality to get our fans up close and personal their favorite WWE Superstars.
With our partner nextVR, we’ll be producing the first ever Virtual reality experience for WrestleMania.
Our fans will also be able to play in augmented reality.
On SnapChat, your BitMoji can interact with a 3D BitMoji of John Cena.
We’ve even created the opportunity to bring a real AJ Styles or Shinsuke Nakamura in your World via AR through our partnerships with Microsoft and Littlestar.
And finally, later this year, we’re excited to be launching a content innovation lab at WWE’s Performance Center.
The success of the PC and our fantastic developmental system that has inspired us to take the great physical presence that Paul “Triple H” Levesque has built along with the amazing superstars he has recruited, and integrate these with WWE’s digital expertise all focused on innovation.
The Content Innovation Lab will include live, mobile, social, virtual and augmented realities.
If you’re a fan, this is really cool. For all of us, it’s just an extension of our business
It’s the next wave of WWE to continue the conversation 24/7 across this living network.
Thank you.
====== END ===
Byron: Give us a Carlton, keep the dance going.
Digital and SOcial platforms continue to give the WWE to be connected and engaged with our passionate fanbase.
Renee: Be at the forefront of the digital revolution
== PAUL ‘TRIPLE H’ LEVESQUE == (1:04:40)
Talent Recruitment and Global Localization (Paul “Triple H” Levesque)
Everybody having a good time? Alright.
As you heard from day one, WWE has always been about reimagining the brand.
Having the vision and then taking the steps to get there.
That foresight to reimagine is what made WWE the global phenomenon we are today
As we achieved national and worldwide success, the regional territory promotions disappeared.
Without these Territory promotions, there became no pathway for new talent to reach WWE.
There was no place for talent to develop characters, hone their skills in front of a live audience, and more importantly, no place for them to prepare for the massive TV and digital platform that WWE superstars perform on today.
We needed to reimagine our complete talent development and recruitment system.
We had a vision. We took action to recreate our own talent pipeline.
We built a system that can transform an athlete into a superstar.
In 2013, we established the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
For the first time, the WWE Performance Center let us focus on the development of the entire WWE Superstar.
Not just what they could do in the ring as characters, but as professionals.
Through their career development, life skills training, advanced education, language skills, media training. All thanks to the state of the art facilities, and first class coaches, trainers and staff there.
With the opening the Performance Center, came the launch of our third brand - NXT.
It started where our Up-and-coming superstars worked in front of a live audience each week, showcasing their characters and connecting with fans across the NXT Universe.
But it quickly became a phenomenon of it’s own.
The most popular show on the WWE Network with over one million subscribers viewing and consuming NXT content.
This year NXT increased their social media followers by 53% to more than 15 million fans on Facebook and Twitter.
And every single NXT Takeover event has trended worldwide.
With Raw & Smackdown Live calling up all of my NXT stars, Thanks Vince, I quickly realized that NXT needed a feeder system of its own.
We had to reimagine once again how and where we were recruiting.
We had to find the right people, not only inside the United States but outside as well.
We held tryouts all over the world and from these tryouts we brought in the most elite athletes to train in Orlando. And they achieved amazing success.
This system has given us a pipeline of over 220 plus superstars under contract - the biggest roster in the history of the WWE.
This massive pipeline enabled Raw and Smackdown Live to become two distinct brands each with their own set of dedicated superstars with over 80% of the superstars coming from NXT and the Performance Center.
It’s not only the biggest roster, but it’s the most diverse collection of athletes that the WWE has ever had.
For example, Japan’s Shinsuke Nakamura, the former NXT champion, won this year’s men’s Royal Rumble.

Asuka, also from Japan, undefeated in NXT and undefeated on the main roster, this year she won the first women’s Royal Rumble.
And both will go on compete for the respective men’s and women’s championships tomorrow night at the grandest stage of them all at WrestleMania.
This amazing talent pool has allowed us to grow - almost doubling to 560 live events every year.
 Over 70 international cities. On average, we have 9-10 live events per week happening somewhere around the world.
All that talent is feeding our fan’s global appetite for WWE.
And even with all we’ve done, the great thing about the WWE universe, they continue to want more. So, what does that mean for the future? It means I’ve got a lot to do.
We’ve got to find a way to transform the current pathway into a super highway.
We’re going to do it through what I call Global Localization.
Yes, I made that term up.
Don’t think about stealing it, I’m trademarking it as we speak.
Global Localization where we’re going into individual markets around the world,
We will create scale versions of the template we’ve created. Organizing tryouts, recruiting talent, establishing performance centers and building on the ground NXT-style brands.
You can already see this template starting to take shape in the UK. We have the talent. We have a UK championship. And now, We’re ready to give those fans more.
Today I’d like to announce on June 18 and 19, the United Kingdom Championship Tournament will return in the most famous arena in London - the Royal Albert Hall.
This will kick off the next step in the evolution of our European Brand.
But we’re not stopping there. We’re taking actions in regions all over the world.
As you saw earlier, on April 27, in Jeddah Saudi Arabia, you’re going to see over 60,000 fans fill the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium to witness the Greatest Royal Rumble.
A record-breaking match that for the first time ever will feature fifty WWE superstars.
But that is just one part of ten-year strategic multi-platform partnership with the Saudi General Sports Authority that includes localized try-outs, training, possible on the ground Performance and even a Middle eastern brand.
Imagine. Imagine that engagement when a kid in Riyadh or Dubai or Jakarta can grow up as a WWE fan, be recruited by us, be trained by the WWE, become a champion in their home country, go on to compete globally in NXT, debut on Raw or SmackDown, and one day step on to a sold-out stadium on the grandest stage of them all at WrestleMania.
Imagine what that can create in that market. Imagine what that can create in places where the demand for WWE is at the greatest, but the supply is limited only by geography.
We envision NXT-style promotions not just for fans in Europe, Middle East, but also for India, South America, more.
It’s the same grass-roots, territory feeder system that existed before, except now not on a national level, on a global level - and all under the WWE banner.
The excitement about the WWE recruiting in all of these new markets has already attracted the highest level of athlete from every corner of the universe.
Look at Shadia Bseiso, the first ever woman from the Middle East. Her signing with the WWE alone set the Internet on fire.
Every single media outlet covered Kavita Devi, India’s first female athlete to compete in a WWE ring.
Also from India, Ranku Singh, the former Major League Baseball prospect - you might know him as the million-dollar arm.
And then Tian Bing - our first-ever Chinese recruit. He made his WWE debut in Shanghai and went on to perform at WrestleMania 34 last year.
Elite talent in every sport. Just like we’ve seen in the US with NFL players like Baron Corbin, Olympians like Chad Gable, American Ninja Warrior sensation  Kacy Catanzaro
And of course, when it comes to next-level athletes, no one speaks louder than the person here with me today.
This athlete has broken down every barrier put in front of her.
She’s a judo champion, an Olympic medalist, in MMA they created entire divisions solely for her.
She has paved the way for young women athletes all over the world to show they can do absolutely anything.
She has earned the right, in my opinion to be called the baddest woman in the planet.
Ladies and Gentlemen, competing in her very first match tomorrow, please welcome WWE superstars, Rowdy Ronda Rousey.
I know these are tape, not a force field, so mind your Ps&Qs Mr. H.
All joking aside, it is really great to be here and part of the WWE family. And um.
You know my prior success was in individual sports, and it always felt like it was me against the world but this is the first time I could walk into a locker room or an arena or even a room like this and be part of a team.
And even though he knows I am going to toss him around tomorrow.
HHH: It’s probably a mild understatement.
But We’re all still a team. And I can’t wait to see what we can all do together.
HHH: Ronda, what does being part of the WWE mean to you? You’ve told me this but I love you to tell everyone. What does it mean?
Ronda: Well um, the first chapter of my career set records and broke barriers but the second chapter, what we can do here at the WWE, will be even bigger and maybe most importantly maybe we can inspire a new generation of young women athletes. No where else offers these kind of resources or platform to do it on and because I really do see WWE as a place to make change a real difference in the world.
HHH: That’s Awesome
HHH: With talent the calibre of Ronda coming in her, it’s easy to see how bright the future is. And we continue to take action. And we will reimagine WWE around the world for our talent, for our fans, for all of you, our partners, there’s no limit where we could go, then, now and forever. Thank you.
Charlotte Flair & John Cena to present Business Partner of the Year
Charlotte: Thank you to all of our business partners for coming here this weekend for WrestleMania. This weekend is the culmination of a year of cohesive teamwork from all of the talent working in front of the ring as well as all of talented group of people behind the camera to provide an entertainment experience like no other.
But it’s our cohesive teamwork with you, when it comes together, our business partners that creates powerful and everlasting and dynamic partnerships that aim to deliver unique and engage products for our consumers.
And we couldn’t possibly ask for a better team of partners to come together effectively and efficiently to create success.
Oh, and we always do it with flair - Woo!
John Cena: Oh hey, I didn’t even see you guys there!
I’m John Cena. You guys may know me from being John Cena.
So, my character, and frankly my existence, can be summed in two short sentences - two authentic sentences. There’s simply six words: Never give up. Hustle, Loyalty (and) Respect.
Something everyone in this room has in common. Because I’ve been honored to speak at this summit for almost a decade now.
And every year I see the reach of the WWE grow and grow and grow and grow. And a large part of that success is the faith all of you have in us. I see some familiar faces; I see some new faces. Which is awesome. I genuinely want to thank everybody for being here this weekend and more importantly supporting us going forward.
I can’t wait to see what ridiculously creative, horribly wonderful, in/out/around the box ideas that you guys have for us this year.
And I can speak for all the WWE superstars and say that we’re ready for it.
We value all of our partnerships. So thank you. But there can only be one!
And now is the time to find out our business partner of the year!
Drum roll please.

Cricket Wireless

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