Gov. Jesse Ventura to Participate in Smackdown Challenge
On August 30, 2000, WWE Superstars invited George W. Bush, the Republican Party nominee for President of the United States, and Al Gore, the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States, to take the "SmackDown Challenge" - appear together at a live WWE SmackDown! event of their choice through October 2000 to directly speak to America's young voters. Their remarks would be broadcast as part of the WWE SmackDown! program on the UPN network.
Gov. Ventura was invited to moderate the 10-minute discussion - Gov. Bush and Vice President Gore are each allotted five minutes. It is an invitation the Governor has decided to accept. "If the Democratic and Republican candidates agree, I'll be there," said Gov. Ventura. He said he hoped the WWE would consider also inviting third-party candidates to participate in the event.
Linda McMahon, Chief Executive Officer of WWE, welcomed the Governor's participation. "We're pleased that Gov. Ventura will be part of the WWE's effort to get the two major candidates to speak to the interests and needs of a group of young voters that feel ignored by our political system," she said.
Ms. McMahon said the company is considering the Governor's request for having third-party candidates participate in the "SmackDown Challenge."
If the ratings for the final day of each convention were any indication, the candidates could be well served by getting their message on WWE SmackDown!. According to Nielsen ratings, WWE SmackDown! was the program most viewed by adults ages 18 to 34 in total prime time on the Thursday night closing the Republican Convention and the Thursday night closing the Democratic Convention, beating convention coverage on ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox. WWE SmackDown! also was the most viewed program on those days for males ages 18 to 34 and ages 18 to 49.
In addition to offering the "SmackDown Challenge," WWE last week joined Youth Vote 2000, a coalition of 60 youth organizations, in calling for one of the three formal presidential debates to be directed at the concerns of America's young voters in front of an audience ages 18 to 30. A recent poll by Third Millennium, a Youth Vote 2000 Board member, found that 77 percent of Americans support a youth presidential debate. The proposed youth town hall-style debate would have youth, ages 18-30, asking the questions and an experienced youth journalist moderating the discussion.
To date, more than 8,400 people have signed an online petition started last week asking the candidates to accept the "SmackDown Challenge." The petition can be accessed through WWEVote.com.
WWE, Youth Vote 2000, MTV's Choose or Lose, and Project Vote Smart joined forces in August of this year to launch "Smackdown Your Vote!", a non-partisan voter registration campaign. "Smackdown Your Vote!" has been registering and bringing election information to thousands of previously unregistered voters during WWE arena events, at WWE New York, a site-based entertainment complex in New York City's Times Square, through the company's Web site, WWEvote.com, and through MTV's chooseorlose.com. The web sites link to Rock The Vote. The campaign, spurred on by appearances by The Rock and WWE Superstar Chyna at the Republican and Democratic conventions, has registered more than 58,000 new voters within five weeks.
Youth Vote 2000 (www.youthvote2000.org) is the largest, most diverse, non-partisan coalition in history to engage young people, ages 18-30, in politics. Youth Vote 2000 coalition consists of over 60 national organizations representing hundreds of groups and millions of young people. The Youth Vote 2000 coalition is calling for youth debates at the presidential, state and local levels. It is devoting an unprecedented amount of resources to building state and local Youth Vote 2000 coalitions.
WWE Entertainment, Inc. is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, with sales offices in New York City, Chicago and Toronto. It is an integrated media and entertainment company, principally engaged in the development, production and marketing of television programming, pay-per-view programming and live events, and the licensing and sale of branded consumer products featuring our highly successful WWE (WWE) brand. The company is an equal partner with NBC for the XFL, a new professional football league scheduled to kickoff in February 2001. WWE currently has more than 600 employees and has exclusive contracts with approximately 125 performers. The Company can be found on NASDAQ under the symbol WWE, and online at WWE.com and WWECORPBIZ.com