WWE’s Executive Vice President, Kevin Dunn recently spoke with Sports Illustrated and he talked about the company’s plans for ‘WWE ThunderDome’ virtual fan experience as well as WWE’s move to the Amway Center for a return to live-programming.
Here’s what Dunn had to say:
“When people think of WWE, most think of the spectacle that we are, but it was just impossible to put on a spectacle in the Performance Center. Moving to Amway, and unveiling the ThunderDome, the opportunities are limitless.
We can now do things production-wise that we could never otherwise do. We’re flying drones in the arena, we are putting a roof inside the Amway Center, and we’ll be able to project content onto the roof. So when a big star like Drew McIntyre comes down to the ring, the whole arena will turn into his content with lasers, pyro, smoke, projections on the top of the building and on the floor. It will be a big, beautiful entrance, better than WrestleMania.”
Like the NBA, we’re doing virtual fans, but we’re also creating an arena-type atmosphere. We won’t have a flat board, we’ll have rows and rows and rows of fans. We’ll have almost 1,000 LED boards, and it will recreate the arena experience you’re used to seeing with WWE. The atmosphere will be night and day from the Performance Center. This is going to let us have a WrestleMania-level production value, and that’s what our audience expects from us. We are also going to put arena audio into the broadcast, similar to baseball, but our audio will be mixed with the virtual fans. So when fans start chants, we’ll hear them. We start on Friday on SmackDown, and it will be a learning experience. We have two days of testing, and we’re going to practice like hell, then we’re off to the races. We may have fans for certain entrances, standing up and cheering for the typical babyfaces. But someone like Bray Wyatt, who is so character-driven, the entire Amway Arena will be one big Fiend-dom. That’s our opportunity to be different from sports, where we can present these larger-than-life characters uniquely. This will be great for people watching at home across the globe, as well as the ones participating.”
WWE’s first live show at the Amway Center is scheduled for August 21st’s edition of Friday Night SmackDown and will continue for the foreseeable future for all Monday Night RAW, Friday Night SmackDown & PPV events, including this Sunday’s SummerSlam PPV.
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