[WWE] Vince McMahon WSJ Interview Highlights

Vince McMahon was interviewed for The Wall Street Journal last week in the media section, giving a very interesting Q&A with the business paper’s Joe Flint.

Some highlights …

The piece starts out talking about the $5 million spent marketing Wrestlemania 21, including movie trailer parodies that have appeared on TV as well as in the cinema. Flint mentions that the deal with SpikeTV is nearing a close, and WWE is looking for a new cable partner; and says it “remains to be seen” how Smackdown fits in with UPN’s supposed turn to targeting women viewers.

Some quotes from the story follow.

Vince on creating new storylines:

“It’s not easy. If it were easy, Ted Turner would still be in business. It’s difficult, but something we’ve always been able to do, year after year. Beginning this “WrestleMania,” we have two very strong characters: One is Batista on “Raw” and the other is John Cena on “Smackdown,” both of whom we believe are going to carry those banners extremely well. It’s their time. John Cena is also starring in one of our films, called “The Marine,” that is going to be coming out in the neighborhood of August. When you take someone who is multifaceted like that, who can cross over into so many other areas, that’s really fantasic for us.”

Wrestlers as ad pitchmen:

“I think that’ll happen. We’ve never really said, “Who is in charge of the John Cena brand? Who’s in charge of the Batista brand? Who’s in charge of the Stone Cold [Steve Austin] brand?” And individualize and manage those brands. When you do that, you get a hell of a lot more bang for your buck.”

On advertisers:

“It’s a matter of education. We don’t have an automotive; we should. Our people drive cars. I’m not knocking the guys because our sales force is pretty strong, but they’ve always gone for the low-hanging fruit. They haven’t taken the opportunity to really home in on an automotive. Why isn’t General Motors buying? They could use the help right now.”

On expanding the fanbase:

“We’re going to be spending substantial sums of money going forward promoting our performers in areas you’d think we logically should be in anyhow — Nascar, places like that. We haven’t done that in the past because we have such an efficient model to promote — we have four hours of prime-time television every week. Beginning in June, we’re going be going outside of our environment. We think that we’re going to strike gold.”

WWE on UPN:

“I am, and I’ll tell you why. I’m not too sure UPN has an identity yet. We counter-program everything extremely well, we do well on Thursday nights and we make money for the network. I think our future is bright with UPN.”

A return to the ring for Vince:

“Um, no. As a matter of fact, I have on knee braces as we speak. Seven weeks ago, I severed both of my quadriceps tendons doing a stunt in the ring. I wasn’t warmed up, I didn’t stretch and that unfortunately is major surgery. My character, his time has come and gone. I’ll be 60 in August. I’m better utilized from a resource standpoint not being a performer. It was good while it lasted…but if I’m the chairman — and I` am — I’m better at doing other things.”

McMahon also says that they have discussed launching their own channel, and if the NFL and Disney can do it, it’s “a logical move at the right time.” He talks about Stone Cold Steve Austin and WWE Films, how he feels about being censored by the FCC (the answer is surprising), and more.

For the full interview, go to WSJ.com (subscription required) and search for WWE.

Credit: Wall Street Journal