Regular WWE watchers already know that this Sunday’s Backlash pay-per-view is sponsored by Rocket League. That’s nothing new, because loads of WWE PPVs have been sponsored by video games in the past. What is new is that on Wednesday, WWE and Rocket League announced an official partnership. It looks like the overwhelming popularity of Xavier Woods’ UpUpDownDown gaming channel has not been lost on WWE at large.
If you’re not familiar with Rocket League, it’s a video game from publisher Psyonix where you play soccer with an enormous ball by driving rocket-propelled cars. And sometimes, you play basketball. It was an enormous hit the instant it was released, and it has been an officially sponsored competitive eSport since 2015.
This partnership is WWE officially dipping its toe into the world of eSports, which could definitely use some of the flair and panache that’s readily available in pro wrestling. Let’s get some of these professional gamers engaging in some smack talk, already. GET IT TOGETHER, GAMERS. TAUNT YOUR FOES.
So what does the partnership mean? Well, Rocket League will sponsor both Backlash and Great Balls of Fire (yes, still a real thing, and maybe related to the balls in Rocket League?), and will be a “promotional partner” for SummerSlam. The press release:
PSYONIX AND WWE® ANNOUNCE ROCKET LEAGUE® PARTNERSHIP
San Diego, Calif., and Stamford, Conn., – 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 ofFire® 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 programsMonday 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.
Get ready for lots of Rocket League in your future. And lots of balls of fire. Great ones, even.