In a surprising moment on Monday Night Raw earlier this week, Jonathan Coachman appeared alongside the New Day to make a special announcement — that ESPN’s SportsCenter is coming to WrestleMania 32 live from ATT Stadium in Arlington, Texas this Sunday.
Having interviewed the former WWE announcer and performer-turned SportsCenter anchor just two weeks ago, we jumped back on the phone with “Coach” on Wednesday to get a more detailed rundown for how ESPN’s coverage of the “Show of Shows” will go.
If the WWE Universe was already excited about the announcement, it’s bound to be thrilled with the Worldwide Leader in Sports’ planned execution for WWE’s version of the Super Bowl on Sunday, April 3.
“We’ll be doing live cut-ins on SportsCenter starting at 9:30 in the morning — at least one per hour, maybe two — all the way up until the start of the show,” Coachman told us. “We’ll have live guests every hour. We’ll have some kind of recap on the 11:00 p.m. show after the event is over as well. So, that’s our plan for Sunday.”
Awesome plan. Who will those live guests be? Everyone from WWE superstars and divas to celebrities in attendance to witness the mega event. Perhaps Snoop Dogg will be a guest, considering he’s slated to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this Saturday.
Coachman also said that ESPN will be conducting additional interviews for ESPN.com and its social media channels and from the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony on Saturday. He revealed that there will even be a segment about WrestleMania live through the eyes of a SportsCenter anchor.
The fact that the Worldwide Leader in Sports will have SportsCenter live from WrestleMania shows how far sports entertainment has come — to the point that it’s being covered by ESPN this aggressively and thoroughly. The network already allows Coachman to host his own Off the Top Rope WWE segment on SportsCenter, but to have its flagship show be present at WrestleMania kicks everything up a notch. For ESPN, it shows a further willingness to accept sports entertainment as something that it just can’t deny any longer.
After spending a decade with the company, “Coach” couldn’t be any more pleased with ESPN’s presence at the “Show of Shows.”
“I’m really, really excited. It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work for a lot of people and a lot of foresight from the right people,” Coachman said. “When we started talking about this eight or nine months ago, I wanted people to understand that, in the world of sports, you can have fun, cover things that are fun and cover things that a lot of people enjoy. Not every person is going to be a wrestling fan, but I can guarantee you that more than half of this country — well over 100 million people have heard of WrestleMania. This is a big, big deal. I was a part of 10 [WrestleManias] when I was there and I just wanted [ESPN] to be part of it.”
SportsCenter live from WrestleMania comes on the same Sunday as Major League Baseball’s opening day and falls on the day between the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four and its National title game.