WWE’s Chief Brand Officer, Stephanie McMahon, has spoken out about WWE’s original aim to be back in arenas and in front of fans by the fall.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit professional wrestling, WWE have been without an audience and for some time were without an actual arena to hold their shows.
In March, the company were holding their weekly television offerings as well as pay-per-view events including WrestleMania from the Performance Centre. This changed in the summer when they moved into the Amway Centre and created the award winning WWE ThunderDome.
Now, however, WWE are on the move once again. Speaking on the relocation to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, Stephanie McMahon appeared on the 2020 Forbes CMO Summit Virtual Series to state that the move was a step forward as the company hoped to be back in front of crowds by the fall:
“We continued to produce seven hours of live content for television partners on USA and FOX specifically, but we also produce content for a myriad of channels and platforms and we never stopped. What we found is that our fans mean everything. They bring the energy, they bring excitement, they bring the spectacle, and without them, the shows are just not the same. Our ratings fell off. We tried bringing in our developmental talent to see if that would help in terms of some type of audience but it just wasn’t enough. Ultimately, we had hoped to be back in arenas in the fall but when we realized that wasn’t going to happen, we doubled down with a new partner called the famous group and we now have nearly 1,000 virtual fans.”
The move to Tropicana Field will allow WWE to bring devotees back into shows for the first time in nine months. The over 40,000 seater stadium will allow for WWE’s ThunderDome conception as well as the presence of fans who will be able to social distance in the vast space provided.
Of course, the added bonus to fans once again being able to attend WWE events is that their presence will lessen the need for the artificial crowd noise which the company have piped into their television product.
Credit for the interview: 2020 Forbes CMO Summit Virtual Series
h/t for the transcription: Fightful