WWE looks to boost civic participation among fans

NEW YORK: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is kicking off a six-city tour to increase patriotism and encourage Americans to be civically active.

NEW YORK: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is kicking off a six-city tour to increase patriotism and encourage Americans to be civically active.

Dubbed the "Smackdown Your Vote! Pledge to Participate tour, the event begins in New York this week with Gov. George Pataki joining WWE stars and CEO Linda McMahon for a Wall Street appearance.

"The focus is a celebration of America as a country of diverse individuals united by love of country and democracy, and also a call to action to urge our fans to be more active in their communities, said Gary Davis, WWE corporate communications VP.

The high-profile entertainment company began a voter-registration drive two years ago in conjunction with MTV. But WWE's audience is predominantly young teenage boys, many not old enough to vote. The current tour represents an expansion of that social initiative, aimed at creating events for a younger demographic.

"There were a lot of teens who were interested in being involved in the program, but couldn't because of age, said Davis. "So we were always looking for an additional component that would involve everybody."

Along with signing up new voters, event participants will have the opportunity to sign a copy of the US Constitution and take a "pledge to participate in volunteer and civic activities in their communities. There is also an element to commemorate the victims of September 11, and an essay contest with tour partner the Weekly Reader.

The tour is part of a larger effort by the Participate America Foundation to raise awareness of National Civic Participation Week, which runs from September 11-17.

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