Front Row spoke with ESPN Vice President, Editorial Director, Domestic Digital Content, Chad Millman, to discuss the significance of the launch and ESPN’s commitment to serving a passionate fan base.
What was behind the decision for ESPN.com to launch a WWE vertical?
We’ve spent a lot of time the past several months thinking about how fans interact with sports, from what device they’re using to what tracks on social to what matters for a global audience. The way those factors intersect each other helped drive our thinking behind launching the gambling and eSports verticals over the past 24 months and pro wrestling fits in that circle, too. It is a subject that engages a really passionate audience, and we see a pop every time we cover it, from big events to news about wrestlers to in-depth stories examining controversies. Pro wrestling fans are sports fans.
Most people consider professional wrestling to be entertainment and not a sport. How does entertainment coverage fit into ESPN.com’s portfolio?
There is a clear distinction between the results of a WWE event and the sports that we cover. But from a personality perspective, many fans view wrestlers on the same plane as the most popular athletes, in those respects they do tie them together. And the worlds are already inextricably linked, from the athletes and coaches who appear ringside at events to John Cena hosting the ESPYs.