Call it the $1 million a week watch-and-win promotion, a gambit by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon to drive new and returning viewers to WWE Monday Night Raw on USA Network.
The league executive has decided to give away $1 million of his own money each week to wrestling fans who register, in advance of the telecasts, at WWE.com.
At a press conference in Los Angeles, populated by fans alerted by WWE on the Internet, McMahon said he'd continue the stunt "as long as I like." To see photos of the festivities, click on this online photo gallery.
The giveaway could be to one fan per telecast, or to four winners netting $250,000 apiece. Viewers will have to tune in to see how he will disseminate the money, he said, and be by their phones when he calls out during the live telecasts.
USA's executive vice president of marketing and digital brand media Chris McCumber said the promotion, plus the recent debut of USA's latest series, In Plain Sight, provides a powerful "one-two punch" for the cable network, which traditionally takes advantage of the summer months—when broadcast series have concluded—to debut new products.
The network is moving ahead with the promotion now, although McCumber notes it will face stiff competition from the National Basketball Association finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.
"When (McMahon) called us (with the promotion), we said 'We're 100% behind you'," the cable marketer said.
The promotion was announced one week after Monday Night Raw earned one of its lowest ratings, on May 26, in the series' history. However, McCumber said the series is still strong in the 25-54 demo, and that numbers for that segment are stronger than last Memorial Day.