WWE tried a lot of things before they finally moved in virtual fans. The Performance Center did house an NXT trainee crowd for a while, but it wasn’t the same. Now the ThunderDome has become a staple of WWE programming.
Stephanie McMahon was a part of Forbes’ CMO Summit Virtual Series. She spoke about WWE’s pandemic ratings and how they plummeted. After going over a couple of attempts the company made to improve things, she said they finally partnered with The Famous Group to bring the ThunderDome concept to life.
“And without them [the fans], it’s 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, and ultimately we had hoped to be back in arenas in the Fall but when we realized that wasn’t gonna happen, we doubled-down and invested with a new partner called The Famous Group and we now have nearly one thousand virtual fans.”
WWE will bring the ThunderDome to the Tropicana Field as well. That setup will take a bit longer to complete than WWE needed for the Amway Center. We’ll hang tight to see how the Tropicana Field ThunderDome looks as fans seemed to accept the concept of virtual fans at this point.