It's been rumored for a while, but WWE took advantage of the bright spotlight afforded them by WrestleMania to officially announce their partnership with a brand originally associated with mixed martial arts.
Here's the official press release:
ABG AND WWE® LAUNCH TAPOUTTM JOINT VENTURE
NEW YORK AND STAMFORD, CONN., March 25, 2015 - WWE (NYSE: WWE) and Authentic Brands Group, LLC (ABG) today announced a joint venture for TapoutTM, a newly repositioned fitness lifestyle brand. TapoutTM is now the official fitness and training partner of WWE, and will be integrated across WWE's global platforms including TV programming, WWE Network, pay-per-view broadcasts, live events, digital, and social media.
'Tapout was ABG's first acquisition and it continues to be a global brand with strong sales and blue chip partners all over the world. We have a very strong commitment to the brand's ongoing success,' said Jamie Salter, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ABG. 'WWE is a media and entertainment force and we are excited to partner with them on Tapout's future growth.'
'WWE is always looking for new opportunities to partner with best-in-class organizations, develop new products for our fans and drive shareholder value,' said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. 'This joint venture aligns with our strategic approach, and we look forward to building the Tapout brand.'
As part of this strategic partnership, WWE will create new content featuring its Superstars and Divas in TapoutTM apparel and market the brand across all platforms. TapoutTM branding will also be featured at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, and all performers, trainers, and staff will be outfitted in TapoutTM workout apparel.
'WWE's expansive reach provides a global platform to broaden Tapout's presence and consumer base,' said Nick Woodhouse, President and Chief Marketing Officer of ABG. 'This is a powerhouse pairing given the synergy between Tapout's brand promise to be the premiere hard-body fitness brand, and WWE's commitment to training and fitness.'
'Combining ABG's strengths in retail brand development, licensing and distribution with WWE's marketing expertise, global reach and passionate fan base, makes for a powerful partnership,' said Michelle D. Wilson, WWE Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer. 'The Tapout brand will enable us to expand into new product categories and further grow our current $1 billion consumer product retail business.'
The next generation of TapoutTM preserves the original brand essence and drives a hard-body, fitness-centric message positioned around motivation, discipline and determination. An all new line of men's and women's performance apparel and accessories will launch at retail in Spring 2016. New TapoutTM branding and packaging will roll out in key categories throughout 2015 starting with beverages, supplements and fitness centers.
Vince McMahon's company continues to look at ways to strengthen its brand, as with this week's co-advertising initiative with NBCUniversal designed to overcome some of pro wrestling's traditional stigma with the general public. This deal partners them with a name many associate with unscripted combat sports, and positions the new Tapout to establish itself without MMA now that UFC has gone exclusive with Reebok.
Looking forward to rocking WWE Tapout gear at the gym next Spring, Cagesiders? And what do you think of the marketing moves the company's announced of late?