When I was young, I was roped into the world of Professional Wrestling. Now some will say that Professional Wrestling is not a sport, it’s more of Sports Entertainment. But the fact that it still exists today proves that certain branding techniques have helped the industry gain more and more followers on a daily basis.
Professional wrestling, a performing art, is a popular form of entertainment in Australia, North America, Latin America, Europe, and Japan. It developed in the early 20th century, with predecessors in funfair and variety strongman and wrestling performances, which could often involve match fixing, in the 19th century.
During the 1980’s when cable Tv started to grow in various markets in North America, it gave Professional Wrestling the exposure it needed to gain fans worldwide, and it also used pop culture and world events to make people aware of its brand. Some of the more popular wrestling federations are World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling, Total Non-Stop Action and the WWF (now the WWE). Each federation has its own wrestling stars and to this day, different branding techniques or devices are used to get more fans over with a certain wrestling product and wrestlers. Before social media, one would watch wrestling on tv or buy magazines to get updates on their favourite wrestlers. But in today’s modern world, social media has literally exploded and that allows wrestlers and their federation to connect with fans like never before. Some of the ways are having their own Facebook page, twitter account, instagram accounts, doing live fanzone meet and greets before a wrestling show. Many wrestlers like to connect with fans so that they can keep in touch with them and keep track should they do something outside the ring some day.
Since the 80’s some of the biggest names like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage have kept Professional Wrestling in the minds’ of fans to this day. Most wrestlers have a gimmick that allows fans to recognize them. That gimmick becomes a branding technique that is recognized for decades to come. Entrance theme songs and a finishing move are just a few ways of doing that. A lot of wrestlers have retired have come and gone, but even with social media, fans can go back and relive some of the moments that they prefer. Merchandise with their logos on them help carry the wrestling to attract new fans of sports entertainment. Out of all the federations, WWE has been the most successful when hosting different cities for wrestling events, even the biggest one of all – WRESTLEMANIA. Their constant branding of wrestlers and their products in so many markets worldwide have helped them grow to new heights and levels that other wrestling organizations can only imagine.
In today’s society, other sports like Mixed Martial Arts have tried to compete with wrestling, but wrestling has been around so long and can be found in just about any part of the world, that it would be hard to see it fizzle out due to the branding and marketing it receives on social media.
What are your views? I invite you to discuss if sports entertainment has done all it can to become what it is today. Do you have a favorite wrestler?