Watch WWE? Probably, considering you’re reading this. Do you play Rocket League? Given the game has 31 million players, it’s not as likely as the first question, but still possible. Good news, fans of one or both: WWE and Rocket League’s developer, Psyonix, announced a partnership on Wednesday that will extend through much of 2017.
Are you unfamiliar with Rocket League? Think of it like soccer, except with cars. And also the cars have powerful engines that can launch them through the air and allow them to hover and float. And also the physics are incredible. It’s a super-satisfying game, and given the younger portions of WWE’s audience, it’s not a surprise to see these two companies cross the streams in order to benefit each other.
Psyonix and Rocket League will be the “presenting partner” of both SmackDown Live’s Backlash pay-per-view, as well as RAW’s Great Balls of Fire. They’ll also be one of the promotional partners for SummerSlam 2017. It’s not just the pay-per-views where Rocket League will get exposed to WWE fans, though, as Psyonix promised that we’ll be seeing a lot of “creative” across WWE’s weekly television shows, as well as social media channels. It even sounds like fans in attendance will get a chance to play Rocket League at the arenas WWE is visiting.
You won’t be shocked to hear that UpUpDownDown is also involved: Xavier Woods’ gaming channel on YouTube will dedicate six episodes to the popular game.
What’s not clear is what WWE gets out of this outside of the dollars that come from sponsorship. The hope is likely to reach out to some potential fans, or maybe there’s more down the line in Rocket League itself: WWE-themed DLC for cars, decorations, or arenas, perhaps?
Most fascinating on a personal level is this union of esports and sports entertainment: the two boldly uniting in their non-traditional spaces to promote each other is pretty nifty, and hopefully we see something built off of this by one or both. Hey, if wrestling and esports are good enough for the likes of ESPN (and, of course, SB Nation), then of course they’re good enough for each other.
Want the full press release? Here you go.
San Diego, Calif., and Stamford, Conn., (May 17, 2017) – Psyonix, creators of the sports-action hit Rocket League®, and WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced a partnership that will provide Rocket League with significant visibility and consumer engagement across WWE’s global platforms, including television, digital and social media, and on WWE Network, WWE’s direct-to-consumer streaming service.
Rocket League will be a presenting partner of two upcoming pay-per-view events including this Sunday’s Backlash®, as well as Great Balls of Fire® on Sunday, July 9. Rocket League will also be a promotional partner of WWE’s biggest event of the summer, SummerSlam®, on Sunday, August 20. Rocket League creative will air across WWE Network, WWE’s digital and social channels, and on WWE’s flagship TV programs Monday Night Raw®and SmackDown® Live on USA Network. The award-winning game currently boasts a community of more than 31 million players, and through this new partnership, fans at upcoming WWE live events will have the opportunity to experience and play Rocket League at arenas across the U.S.
“The integrated partnership with Psyonix will provide Rocket League with an opportunity to utilize WWE’s global platforms and reach our passionate fan base, many of whom are avid gamers,” said John Brody, WWE Executive Vice President, Global Sales & Partnerships. “We look forward to working with Rocket League as we collectively build customized one-stop shopping programs to reach their consumers.”
“As WWE fans ourselves, we are well aware of WWE’s strong capabilities as a strategic marketing partner,” said Jeremy Dunham, Vice President, Publishing, Psyonix. “WWE has proven time and again that they know how to execute fantastic integrated programming, and with an audience that has similar interests to our own, it was only natural that we team up to see what we could do together.”
Additional aspects of the partnership include: WWE’s popular YouTube gaming channel UpUpDownDown, which just surpassed 1 million subscribers dedicating six episodes to Rocket League, hosted by WWE Superstar Xavier Woods™. Rocket League will also be the presenting partner of the newly-announced WWE Women’s Tournament, where for the first time in WWE history, 32 of the top female competitors from 17 countries will participate in a tournament this summer airing on WWE Network.