ESPN’s website now has a dedicated section for WWE, right alongside the NBA, NFL, UFC and other sports leagues.
It’s a move which will certainly stir up anger among a certain segment of their audience - look no further than the comment threads under Conor McGregor’s comments about WWE this past weekend for the joyful outrage some “real” sports fans have when it comes to mocking the “fake” world of pro wrestling.
But the buzz generated by the McGregor story is just the latest example of what outlets like ESPN and Rolling Stone (who seems to break as many pro graps stories as anyone this side of Wrestling Observer these days) have learned - wrestling may be a niche product, but the audience for it is passionate and has a voracious appetite for coverage.
So far, the page has menus for the same kinds of things ESPN features when covering non-predetermined sporting events, like news, results, profiles, championship history, and rankings. But it’s unclear how the site will navigate the tricky issue of kayfabe. Coachman’s interviews usually discuss shoot topics while performers remain in character. That will be a tricky balance in writing “news”.
I just hope they bring in doctors to discuss ringpostitis.
Anyway, we’ll see how the so-called Sports Leader expands their coverage of our beloved pastime... and sit back and enjoy athletic purists raging about sports entertainment polluting their pool.
UPDATE: You can read ESPN’s press release, which discusses their plans - including covering wrestling beyond WWE - here.