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On the Beat: WWE full of athletic showmen

Posted: August 21, 2014 10:36 p.m.
Updated: August 21, 2014 10:36 p.m.

Special Olympics basketball players Jon Bird (1), left, and Blain Palmer (3) cheer as World Wrestling Entertainment Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon walks to center court to address the crowd during a Special Olympics basketball game hosted by WWE at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on August 15. Dan Watson/The Signal

 

During last week’s visit to the Santa Clarita Valley, World Wrestling Entertainment executive Stephnanie McMahon addressed the question of whether or not her company fits under the umbrella of athletics.

“Think of us as an action-adventure soap opera with incredibly interesting, deep characters. That’s what we are. We’re unique,” said McMahon, the WWE’s chief brand officer, during a charity event at Santa Clarita Sports Complex.

Alright, so it’s scripted entertainent, which doesn’t sound a lot like sports. But then again, McMahon added: “When you watch WWE, there’s no denying the athletic performance. These superstars and divas fly around the ring. The things that they do week in and week out is truly remarkable, and then you couple that with no offseason and no rerun. It’s truly remarkable what they’re able to do with their bodies in the ring and the level at which they need to compete.”

So it’s a stretch to call this form of entertainment a sport, but it does require athletes. Take the example of WWE wrestler Mark Henry, who was also in attendance last week along with McMahon. Henry came to the WWE after a successful powerlifting career that took him to the Olympic Games.

Whether or not you consider WWE a sport, there’s no denying its popularity. In terms of TV ratings, it’s more popular than any other major sport in the U.S. other than NFL football, according to a report by Forbes.

The company’s reported revenue in 2013 was $508 million and McMahon said it averages around 14 millions TV viewers a week.

“We’re very competitive in the marketplace,” McMahon said. “We’re one of the last independent producers, and we’re out there scrapping and scraping and entertaining our way to the top.”

And it looks like a local name could be joining the entertainment giant soon. Longtime pro wrestler and Hart High graduate “Sting,” a.k.a. Steve Borden, spent most of his career as one of the most popular names for the now-defunct company World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

Signs are pointing to the fact that Borden may soon make his wrestling debut with the WWE.

He recently began appearing in WWE advertising and events, and the 55-year-old expressed in interviews his desire to get back into the ring one last time.

Specifically, he said he wants to appear at next year’s Wrestlemania.

Fox Sports to televise, stream local teams

The CIF-Southern Section and Fox Sports West announced its TV and online streaming schedule for the first portion of the prep football season.

As far as Santa Clarita Valley football teams are concerned, the only live telvised game schedules so far is Hart’s bout with Chaminade on Sept. 5. The game will be show on Fox Sports Prime Ticket that night.

Each week, Fox Sports will also stream four additional games live on its website FoxSportsWest.com. Included on that schedule is Canyon’s home game against Westlake to open the season on Aug. 29 and Valencia’s home contest against Palmdale the following week on Sept. 5.

So far, only the first four weeks of the season are scheduled, which leaves the door open for Foothill League teams playing on TV down the road.

A total of 85 Southern Section prep football games will either be televised or streamed this season, according to Fox Sports.

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