Stephanie McMahon recently conducted an interview with BusinessInsider.com, covering a wide range of topics including her history with WWE, favorite superstars, giving back to the community, and much more. A couple of highlights from the interview are posted up below. Check out the link for the full interview.
Steph on the difference between UFC and WWE:
“Brock is a unique proposition, but just to get to the broader question: UFC is not a competitor to the WWE because we are entertainment and UFC is competitive sport. It’s very different. WWE is all about protagonists and antagonists where ultimately our conflicts are settled in the ring with action that is akin to Hollywood. It’s incredible stunt-like action and the match itself tells a story, but our audience is engaged in the characters and their storyline. It has to be relatable to them so that they care to see the tragedy or triumph and we’re at an advantage because we can script it.”
“UFC, they can make a big star but the second that person loses, they lose credibility, and how do you continue to make that star rise? So I think we have the best of both worlds and the opportunity to tell the stories in the way we want to tell them.”
Steph on Brock Lesnar’s involvement in UFC 200:
“In Brock Lesnar’s case it was really a special case that we are allowing him to do this fight [against Mark Hunt on July 9]. But like you said it’s not really a cross-promotional opportunity, but we are allowing him to participate in that fight.
We are not supporting the fight necessarily but, again, it’s not a competitor to us and the more that our superstars, that’s how we refer to our talent, the more they do outside of WWE, the more awareness it generates and the broader the audience can be that is then brought back into our properties. So we recognize the value of that.”
Steph on social media and the fans’ influence on WWE programming:
“I think it’s one of the secret sauces to our success if you will is that our fans are a part of our show. They engage, they chant, they cheer, they boo. There’s a problem when they don’t react. So, in essence, every live event is like a focus group. So we are getting that real-time feedback from them, in the arena.”
“Another reason why I think social media was so successful for WWE is because of that fan engagement, because they are a part of what we do, therefore, even when they are not live in the arena, they have influence through social media. I think that it’s so important. A lot of brands just push messages out on social media, but that’s not what social is about. Social is about engaging, it’s about a conversation, it’s about listening and then responding, it’s an ongoing conversation with our fan base.”
“So when you consider the fact that our fans influence what happens in a match — a lot of it is improv, so they can dictate the flow if something’s not working, you can make an adjustment on the fly. They dictate what’s being said. They can often chant or you can get a feeling they are not engaged with the content, so you have to find a way to transition around that.”
Steph on new markets that WWE is vetting:
“Yes, in China for example, we just had a big press conference where we announced a new media partnership with PPTV. We announced a live event coming to Shanghai in September, and also we signed our first ever Chinese superstar, whose name is Bin Wang. And we also conducted a whole talent recruitment and try-out for four days in Shanghai at the Mercedes Benz arena.”
“Out of that I believe we had seven recruits who we are vetting to potentially bring back, so it’s really exciting. China is a focus for us, India is a clear focus for us, as well as South America.”