Sports entertainment

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Sports entertainment a term first used by World Wrestling Federation chairman Vince McMahon during the 1980s, as a marketing term to describe the industry of professional wrestling, primarily to potential advertisers[1]. The phrase, used exclusively in place of the word 'wrestling' since the 1990s, by the World Wrestling Federation, is today synonymous with the term professional wrestling.


In February 1935, Toronto Star sports editor Lou Marsh described professional wrestling as "sportive entertainment". In 1989 WWF used the phrase in its case to the New Jersey Senate for classifying professional wrestling as "sports entertainment" and thus not subject to regulation like a directly competitive sport. [2]



Many noteworthy sporting stars have featured in sports entertainment events. In June 1976, boxer Muhammad Ali took on Antonio Inoki at the Budokan Hall in Japan. [3] Boxer Mike Tyson made a guest appearance at WrestleMania XIV on March 29, 1998 as a special outside enforcer for the main event match between Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin. In January 2010, Tyson actively participated in a tag team match, partnering with Chris Jericho to take on D-Generation X. Mixed martial artists Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley and Dan Severn have been booked as pro wrestling world heavyweight champions. Professional basketball player Shaquille O'Neal has a reputation as a long time pro wrestling fan and attends WWE events several times per year, and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. expressed interest in fulfilling a WWE career after he retires from professional boxing. Both worked feuds with Big Show, Mayweather's culminating in a featured match at WrestleMania XXIV. Former American football player Brian Urlacher made an attempt to leave football to wrestle for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling full-time until his team at the time, the Chicago Bears, forced him to stop. David Arquette was briefly WCW World Heavyweight Champion, as part of a cross-promotional movie deal. Chael Sonnen tried out at the WCW Power Plant before starting his fighting career. His over-the-top, rehearsed promos helped him to three UFC title shots, and he has expressed interest in both working for and buying WWE.

In Politics

The widespread popularity in the United States for sports entertainment (professional wrestling), has caused politicians to use it to reach voters, particularly young males. Some of the candidates of the 2008 presidential elections (including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain) recorded video messages for broadcast for the WWE to encourage the audience of WWE Raw to vote, and George W. Bush did a prerecorded video for the WWE's annual Tribute to the Troops show. Prior to beginning his Presidential campaign, President of the United States Donald Trump was featured in a WWE storyline, appearing at Wrestlemania 23.


Sports entertainment has a stigma of being mindless pop culture, in some cases glorifying violence for the sake of entertainment,[4] and has been criticized as such in popular media, often through lampooning. The film Idiocracy portrays a future where sports entertainment permeates the global culture: the president is an active champion professional wrestler and capital punishment consists of a combination demolition derby, monster truck event and gladiator duel, and is a highly popular television broadcast. Fiction with a dystopian future setting often portrays deadly futuristic games as popular sports entertainment, including the novels The Hunger Games and The Running Man, video games such as Smash TV and the Twisted Metal series, and the role-playing game Shadowrun.


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  3. ^ "Pro-fane".
  4. ^ "Pro-fane". Americana. April 2001. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
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