The WWE ThunderDome is on the move although it’s not far because they are still remaining in state of Florida. This has been rumored for several weeks. The story is that the current WWE ThunderDome home is the Amway Center in Orlando, home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. The new home is going to be Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida although it’s more like St. Petersburg, Florida. Most of the WWE roster lives in Orlando (home of the WWE Performance Center) while some live in Tampa area as well. Orlando to Tampa is over a one hour drive, so it’s not that far away.
Tropicana Field is the home of Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays, who lost in the MLB World Series in October. The MLB season doesn’t usually start until late March, so we can assume that WWE is probably going to have the ThunderDome set up there until mid-March at least. WrestleMania 37 in 2021 is likely going to be at Raymond James Stadium also in Tampa although we don’t know for sure if there will be fans there. Tropicana Field has a capacity of 42,000 fans for a baseball game, so it’s double the size of a basketball arena like Amway Center. It will give WWE more room in the backstage areas to film content if they want to.
As you would expect since we are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no fans allowed in the stadium.
Here’s the official WWE announcement from the press release they sent out today.
WWE® ThunderDome™ Takes Over Tropicana Field
STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– WWE will bring its world-class viewing experience, WWE ThunderDome, to Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay as it begins a new residency starting with SmackDown on Friday, December 11 at 8 PM ET on FOX.
The move to Tampa Bay marks the next iteration for WWE ThunderDome, which launched to critical acclaim in August as part of WWE’s first-ever residency at Amway Center in Orlando. Featuring a state-of-the-art set, video boards, pyrotechnics, lasers, cutting-edge graphics and drone cameras, WWE ThunderDome provides an immersive viewing atmosphere and virtually brings thousands of fans into the arena via live video, in conjunction with The Famous Group and its proprietary technology, for every Monday Night Raw®, Friday Night SmackDown® and WWE pay-per-view event. WWE ThunderDome recently received top honors at this year’s Sportel Awards for Best Virtual Fan Experience.
“The Tampa Bay Rays are excited to welcome WWE to Tropicana Field for this residency and shine a spotlight on the Tampa Bay area for WWE fans around the world,” said Matt Silverman, Tampa Bay Rays President. “The ballpark will be transformed to host the spectacle of WWE ThunderDome, allowing fans to enjoy this wildly popular experience 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 WWE ThunderDome,” said Kevin Dunn, WWE Executive Producer & Chief, Global Television Production. “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.”
“Hollywood celebrities, WWE Legends and millions of fans from around the world have all enjoyed what the world-class WWE ThunderDome has to offer,” said Brian Flinn, WWE Chief Marketing & Communications Officer. “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.”
Fans can register for their virtual seat to be part of upcoming WWE shows via www.WWEThunderDome.com or at WWE’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.
Raw, SmackDown and pay-per-view programming will be produced at Tropicana Field on closed sets with only essential personnel in attendance. WWE will continue to administer its health and safety protocols for talent, crew and employees in conjunction with each production, including PCR testing for COVID-19, social distancing and wearing masks.
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The Company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE’s TV-PG, family-friendly programming can be seen in more than 800 million homes worldwide in 28 languages. WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all live pay-per-views, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library, is currently available in more than 180 countries. The Company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Munich and Tokyo.
Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.
TJR Thoughts: Tropicana Field is one of the worst venues I’ve ever watched a sporting event in. I was there in April 2014 to see my Toronto Blue Jays play the Rays and the field looked awful. It was only the second game of the year, so it’s not like you could say it was beat up. They just didn’t care enough to improve it.
Anyway, the good news is we won’t get a shot of the field at all and I’m sure WWE will make it look impressive because that’s what fans expect when WWE takes over a stadium.