It’s Wrestlemania Time! Expanded pre-game, live streaming highlight weekend
By Andrew Lippe
SVG Assistant Editor
This Sunday World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) presents the 23rd edition of WrestleMania. The event is available on PPV and Satellite providers for $49.95 on networks including Dish Network, Cablevision, and DirecTV, and will also be streamed live over the Internet. “We expect upwards of a million-plus streams for WrestleMania 23,” said Jonathan Zerden, WWE Vice President of interactive technology.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the WrestleMania III event when the WWE set the indoor attendance record with 93,000 fans packing the departed Pontiac Silverdome that night in Detroit, MI and watched Hulk Hogan body slam Andre the Giant. This year as many as 70,000 fans will pack the stands of Ford Field and see if Donald Trump or Vince McMahon gets his head shaved bald. The live four-hour event airs Sunday Night at 7 pm ET. WWE will encode in house and then send out to their content providers.
“The event will stream in 300 or 500kbps,” says Zerden. WWE will also broadcast highlights of the event on cellular providers thanks to their recent partnership with AT&T.
The day of WrestleMania the video team at WWE.com will do a succession of shows and interviews to capture the atmosphere in Detroit outside of Ford Field. WWE will interview various WWE Superstars, before and after WrestleMania, show excited fans arriving at the arena and will give fans an exclusive look at the setup of the squared circle.
“This is our Super Bowl,” says Lucas Swineford, Managing Producer broadband and mobile media. “For the first time we will have an eight-hour program before WrestleMania. In years past it was only a half-hour preshow.”
WWE is sending a crew of three producers to Detroit who will conduct interviews with superstars after their matches are over. These quick two- to three-minute clips will be captured using recently added Panasonic HVX200 cameras. WWE began using a permanent reporter recently to enhance fan reaction. Back in December WWE announcer Michael Cole reported daily reports from Iraq. In one instance WWE captured the army base under attack.
“We take a clip of a superstar after he wins a match; say it’s WWE Champion John Cena. We take the clip of Cena and then ftp it in Windows Media (WMA) format back to our mobile editing studio in Stamford Connecticut,” says Swineford. WrestleMania clips will be put up on their website right away.