WWE Executive Explains Operating ThunderDome During Coronavirus Pandemic

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WWE never stopped running during the pandemic, but it wasn’t easy. Now they are in the ThunderDome, but the risks of the novel coronavirus are still quite serious.

Sporttechie recently spoke to WWE Chief Tech Officer Rajan Mehta. WWE’s COVID-19 protocol came up in the conversation. Mehta also reiterated WWE’s policies while summarizing the last few months and what the company has done so far during this era of pandemic programming.

The ThunderDome is an innovative concept for pro wrestling that WWE is using to create an interactive environment. He said “it feels great to watch” because the energy of the WWE Universe was able to find its way back to their television programming.

“We take pride in how we’ve operated through COVID-19; we tried to innovate every portion of our organization. It’s important to create a diversion in these hard times and we took that to heart: we never stopped producing content and our weekly shows. We were really excited about that.”

“Back in March, we moved content creation to Orlando without fans, central personnel only. And most recently with the ThunderDome at Amway, we are able to have 1,000 fans in attendance at any given time. When I look at what we did, at our technology and production capabilities, I feel like we set the bar.”

“The ability to try and bring fans to our environment and give the energy of what WWE is—it feels great to watch. Part of what we do is create this energy at WWE and it ties into our overall production value.”

“I always like to quote Yogi Berra when people ask me about predictions. He said: ‘It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.’ But if you look at what we’ve done over the last several months from a content perspective, I can see some of that continuing into the future from a production standpoint. From a technology standpoint, we’ve gained a lot of information from a remote working and production/editing perspective, and some of that could live on.”

“We’re living in a world where things have changed so much. Right now, this virtual audience we’ve built out has been really impactful. There’s been a desire to watch sports, and part of that is the interaction you can have with fans, and I think what we’ve done with the ThunderDome has been phenomenal.”

“A few years ago, direct-to-consumer technologies helped broaden the sports and entertainment world. The evolution of sports production will continue. That video quality and immersion will continue to grow. And with the 5G rollout, that evolutionary stuff is going to take another leap forward.”

WWE has the Amway Center rented out until at least the end of October. They moved the Hell In A Cell pay-per-view’s date to fit into that time frame. The company has an option to extent their stay at the Amway Center if they wish. We’ll have to see where the world is at then that day comes.

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