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WWE To Return To Live-Touring As US Vaccination Rates Increase

T
he World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) have set a 25-city touring schedule, to begin in July, as venues begin hosting events in the United States (US) as vaccination rates climb and infections decline.

According to the report by Deadline, the official announcement has not yet mentioned any specifics in relation to COVID-19 safety protocols, but the state of Texas will be the first to hold wrestling events with fans, with live-shows Smackdown, to be held on July 16 in Houston and Raw, to be held in Dallas on July 19.

The re-commencing of fan-attended events follows the announcement of a year-on-year (YoY) decline of 9% in revenue for the first quarter, with a reported total revenue of USD$263.5 million (AUD$341.2 million).

Speaking on live events returning, chief revenue officer of WWE, Nick Khan, said this is a landmark moment.

“The fans are our fourth wall, if you will,” Khan said.

“We know immediately from them what’s working and what’s not working.

“To get live fans back and to get our performers in front of them, we yearn for that as much as our performers do, and we think it’s going to have a direct impact on all parts of our business in an overwhelmingly positive way,” he said.

In the absence of fans during the COVID-19 pandemic, the WWE introduced ThunderDome, a virtual format which surrounded the ring by images of fans, a strategy which saw the company bump its ratings slightly, according to chief financial officer of WWE, Kristina Salen.

“From a fan engagement perspective, we’re really looking forward to getting out on the road again,” Salen said.