That would be the implication of WWE highlights appearing on—or, as some may consider it, blaspheming—the hallowed grounds of the world’s premier sports network.
During Tuesday’s edition of SportsCenter, ESPNannounced a partnership with WWE to feature weekly segments of wrestling highlights. The partnership couldn’t have come at a better time for both industry-leading franchises.
ESPN has been struggling with declining subscriber numbers and ratings. Ad revenue was off 3 percent in the three months ended June 27, according to the Wall Street Journal, which dissected the network’s troubles in detail here. ESPN’s ratings dip is tied in part to the rise in popularity of online streaming services like NetflixNFLX -1.00%, which is posing big problems for the television industry at large.
ESPN cut ties with three of its biggest stars this year — Keith Olbermann, Colin Cowherd and Bill Simmons – in an exodus that was not without its share of controversy. ESPN is now looking to regroup by ”nurturing big-name stars,” as President John Skipper put it, in a climate where ratings are shrinking.