WWE Thunderdome to rock with Royal Rumble


WWE moves to Tropicana Field Image: WWE

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), a US professional wrestling promotion, which recently shifted from Florida’s Amway Center to the Tropicana Field Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida (US), is likely to keep the ThunderDome state-of-the-art set intact for the pay-for-view Royal Rumble show to be held on January 31st, 2021.

The Royal Rumble is a professional wrestling event, produced every January since 1988 by professional wrestling promotion WWE. It is named after the Royal Rumble match, a battle royal whose participants enter at timed intervals.

Pay per view is a type of pay television or webcast service by which a viewer can purchase events to view via private telecast.

Tropicana Field, a multipurpose dome-shaped stadium, home of the Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise team Tampa Bay Rays became the residence of WWE from December 11th, 2020.

The WWE took up residency at Amway Center, home of the National Basketball Association (NBA) team Orlando Magic, back in August 2020 to stage a number of events under the ThunderDome banner. The ThunderDome concept features state-of-the-art set, video boards, pyrotechnics, lasers, cutting-edge graphics and drone cameras, providing an immersive viewing atmosphere and virtually bringing thousands of fans into the arena via live video.

Launched in conjunction with the fan experience company The Famous Group and its proprietary technology, ThunderDome has operated for every Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown and WWE pay-per-view event.

No end date has been announced for the Tropicana Field residency, but, media reports stated that it could extend into March before the baseball season begins in April.

However, with the new NBA season which commenced on December 22nd, 2020, the WWE required a new base of operations. Prior to the formation of ThunderDome, WWE had been staging events without fans at its Performance Center from March 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide.

The WWE Performance Center is the official professional wrestling school system for the American professional wrestling promotion WWE. The promotion currently operates two Performance Center locations, which serve as training facilities for WWE wrestlers, as well as sports science and medical facilities.

The WWE ThunderDome is the name of WWE’s virtual videoconferencing crowd experience for their broadcasts of shows and pay-per-views for their Raw and SmackDown brand divisions. It was launched during the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2020 as a way for professional wrestling fans to attend WWE events virtually.

“We are proud to have reimagined the in-arena atmosphere and provide an interactive experience like nothing else in sports and entertainment with the launch of the WWE ThunderDome,” said Kevin Dunn, WWE Executive Producer and Chief of Global Television Production.

Added Dunn, “Our fans’ response and industrywide recognition are both humbling and further validation of the innovative spirit and passion that exist across the entire WWE organization.”

Brian Flinn, WWE Chief Marketing Officer and Communications Officer, added, “Hollywood celebrities, WWE legends and millions of fans from around the world have all enjoyed what the world-class WWE ThunderDome has to offer. This new residency will enable us to continue offering an unmatched live spectacle and would not have been possible without the strong support from the Tampa Bay Rays organization. We remain grateful for the hospitality provided by the Amway Center over the past four months.”

In 2020, telecommunications infrastructure firm Mobilitie partnered with the Rays to bring 5G connectivity to Tropicana Field.

The fans on the screen surrounding the wrestling ring are all registered members of WWE ThunderDome. The fans can virtually get in by signing up on the official site, WWEThunderDome.com or through WWE’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram handles. Once a fan has registered and enters the waiting room, he or she will be virtually let into the event.

The free of cost concept for fans, which became an instant hit and staggered viewership upwards after its introduction, was launched in collaboration with the fan experience company, The Famous Group, with its in-house technology.

Raw, SmackDown and PPV programing will be produced at Tropicana Field on closed sets with only essential personnel in attendance.

Apart from the pay-per-view shows, WWE, an entertainment and media company airs multiple television programs all over the world in a wide-range of mediums like video on-demand services, and via the web. WWE’s three flagship wrestling programs are Raw, SmackDown, and NXT.

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