” Chicago, Ill. – Arm-wrestling’s mainstream TV debut came roaring out of the gates on Feb. 13, as the World Armwrestling League premiered to an expectation-smashing audience.
Debuting to nearly 300,000 viewers, WAL set new viewership benchmarks for the sports network in its Friday night TV slot, besting averages by more than 30 percent in key adult and men’s demos. The network also granted the league three additional air dates, including two on ESPN and one on ESPN 2.
The 2014 WAL Championships from New Orleans will now re-air on Saturday, March 21 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 28 at 10 p.m. on ESPN, and again on May 22 at 11 p.m. on ESPN2. See a summary of airtimes HERE.
“This is an incredible start for the league and a strong indicator that people across the country can recognize the power, technique and dedication it takes to excel at this sport, and they want to see more,” said WAL Commissioner Steve Kaplan. “And we haven’t even scratched the surface. We have seven more episodes and hundreds of events still to come.”
Kaplan was referring to WAL’s expansive “100 Events in 100 Cities” qualifier series set to launch Feb. 28 and conclude when the TV cameras return to capture the three Regional and four weight class Championships that will make up the televised 2015 season.
In all, the league will award more than $500,000 in prize money between now and July – an unprecedented amount for the sport.
The WAL Championship was filmed in New Orleans and followed the day-long battles that lead to the crowning of eight weight class champions. The show, produced by IMG Productions, got a slightly delayed start Feb. 13 due to a live boxing coverage overrun.
But the late start did little to dim viewership, as audiences turned out in droves to witness the debut of professional arm wrestling on the world’s leading network for sports.
“Fans just got a taste of what arm-wrestling is all about,” said WAL heavyweight champion Devon Larratt. “It’s totally grass-roots, and to see these everyday competitors rise to the top in front of so many people is something worth watching.”
For a full list of WAL air dates, click HERE. ”