World Championship Wrestling will devote nearly $500,000 to
promote its Aug. 9 Road Wild pay-per-view event, which will feature a ring
appearance by talk-show host Jay Leno.
The host of The Tonight Showwith Jay Leno
will team up with "Diamond" Dallas Page in a tag-team match against
"Hollywood" Hulk Hogan and WCW executive producer Eric Bischoff, said Jay
Hassman, director of PPV for WCW. Hogan and Page were involved in WCW's celebrity
wrestling match last month, which featured National Basketball Association stars Dennis
Rodman and Karl Malone.
Tonight Show musical director Kevin Eubanks will also
appear as Leno's cornerman. Hassman said the addition of Leno will further WCW's
attempt to bring nonwrestling fans to PPV.
"Leno's presence brings another angle for us to
attract people to wrestling for the first time so that we can hook them with WCW's
high entertainment value," Hassman said.
To support the event, WCW will contribute more than
$400,000 over the next week in national and local market promotion, Hassman said.
"We want to help operators to get the message across
to consumers through national and local marketing support," Hassman said.
"We've seen an increased eagerness from subscribers to market this event since
we announced Jay Leno's appearance."
Along with traditional marketing outlets, WCW will heavily
target country-music stations. WCW is offering a 30-minute concert featuring country-music
star Travis Tritt after the match.
Boosting the event further will be Leno himself, as he will
undoubtedly plug the match throughout the week on his late-night NBC show.
Hassman feels that the event's performance could rival
that of last month's Bash at the Beach show, which generated nearly 600,000
buys, doubling WCW expectations. Hassman would not reveal last year's Road Wild
buy-rates, but other sources close to the situation said there were about 200,000 buys.
"I think that it has the potential to meet [Bash at
the Beach] numbers," Hassman said. "The biggest difference between that show
and this one is that we had more time with Bash for promotion."
Leno's appearance will mark the second straight month
that a celebrity has appeared in a WCW PPV event, and Hassman would not rule out further
attempts to draw nonwrestling personalities in the future.
"WCW will continue to aggressively pursue
opportunities to bring in a new audience to the wrestling and PPV category," Hassman
said. "If that means bringing in nonwrestling personalities, we will continue to do