Shark Week turns 30: 5 things to bite into for this year's weeklong deep dive

Shark Week turns 30 this year, and The Drum has 5 things to sink your teeth into. / Patrick Brinksma via Unsplash

As the annual summer TV blockbuster known as Shark Week reaches its milestone 30th anniversary, The Drum takes a deep dive into Discovery Channel's flagship week of programming, and how this jam-packed year has brands chomping at the bit for a spike in sales from its cult, but global following.

Here are five things you should put a fin on and watch for this week:

Sunday night is for sharks and stars

The programming lined up for Sunday night looks to be nothing more than star-studded, with Shaq Does Shark Week and Ronda Rousey Uncaged sure to draw in the rabid fanbase (and some new Shark-olytes). The two sports hall-of-famers find themselves locked in cages — and swimming with the deadliest sharks in the sea.

Here’s Shaq getting into fitting shape:

Maybe the sleeper hit of the night — the entire week: Watching famed survivalist Bear Grylls essentially play human bait in shark-infested waters in Bear v. Shark.

Shark Tank gets chummy with Shark Week

The winner for 'most ambitious crossover event of (Shark Week) history' should go to Shark Tank Meets Shark Week, where Mark Cuban, Fubu’s Daymond Jean, and company have to pitch to each other. Each of these on-screen and IRL venture capitalists will spend the episode learning about the conservation issues facing the endangered species and get into a proverbial cage match to see which of their ideas deserves $50k.

You can’t say ‘feeding frenzy’ without Guy Fieri

On its face, a show about one of the greatest eaters on TV meeting the greatest predators of the sea may ruin appetites. But the show, which features the cooking star traveling to the Bahamas to taste the local cuisine, and understand what makes the Caribbean such a top feeding ground for some of the more dangerous species in the area.

There's a thousand ways to watch a shark

How the Discovery Channel has made a week out of shark-related programming for three decades is a feat worth recognizing. Key to this: the sheer variety of genres involving sharks. From sci-fi with Alien Sharks to Fieri's cuisine show, and the looming presence of one celebrity or another, a nod needs to go to the producers for giving viewers in 72 markets worldwide something aquatic to bond over.

Build-A-Bear, Walmart, others want a bite of the buzz, too

Standard Media Index’s findings showed that Shark Week gave Discovery Channel earned $20.2m in revenue in 2017 and $16.6 Million in revenue in 2016 for Discovery Channel. That, juxtaposed against average weekly revenue for the network ($12.7m in 2017, $12.1m in 2016) show that brands have been taking advantage of Jaws fans favorite holiday.

According to Bloomberg, brands such as Build-A-Bear Workshop, Vineyard Vines (yes, the apparel company) and Swedish Fish have all locked in merchandising deals for the week of programming.

Suffice it to say, brands consider the amount of eyeballs expected to be glued in next week to shows like Shark After Dark, Naked and Afraid of Sharks, and Sharks Gone Wild as ‘blood in the water’.

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