After weeks of speculation, WWE has canceled its upcoming WrestleMania event due to the spread of coronavirus in the US. The event was scheduled to take place on April 5 in Tampa, Florida, at the Raymond James Stadium, which has a capacity of roughly 65,000. Instead, it’ll air in front of “essential personnel” only.
“In coordination with local partners and government officials, WrestleMania and all related events in Tampa Bay will not take place,” the company said in a statement Monday. “However, WrestleMania will still stream live on Sunday, April 5 at 7 p.m. ET on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view. Only essential personnel will be on the closed set at WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida, to produce WrestleMania.”
After last Friday’s episode of SmackDown was pulled from Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena, relocation to the Center appears to be WWE’s modus operandi from here on out. Monday’s episode of Raw, originally scheduled to emanate from Pittsburgh will also air from the Performance Center. The NBA had to take even more drastic measures, after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.
It’s a big hit for the WWE. Though the company makes most of its money from TV deals with the USA Network and Fox, last year’s WrestleMania event brought in over $16 million in event ticket sales. With the show now taking place in front of a much smaller crowd, those millions will be lost. It’ll still be broadcast on the WWE Network, however. Even harder hit will be independent wrestling companies, who usually put their biggest shows on for the tens of thousands of wrestling fans who travel for WrestleMania each year.
Wrestling, as a performance, relies more on crowd reaction than does sport. As such, WWE has a huge challenge on its hands as it attempts to air its biggest show of the year in front of what is likely to be an empty Performance Center, as with last Friday’s episode of SmackDown and Monday’s Raw.
After infecting over 121,000 and causing more than 4,300 deaths, the coronavirus outbreak was declared to be a pandemic on Wednesday by the World Health Organization. In the past, the WHO has defined a pandemic as “the worldwide spread of a new disease.”
- Pandemic thriller Utopia on Amazon might be the perfect viewing
- 2021 Jaguar F-Pace refreshed with new styling, luxury and tech
- 2020 Halloween full moon: This year’s spooky spectacle brings a rare twist
- The best minimalist wallet for 2020
- NASA chief calls for prioritizing Venus after surprise find hints at alien life
- YouTube is adding a new Shorts feature to rival TikTok and Instagram Reels
- Paul Rudd, world’s youngest 51-year-old, tells fellow kids to mask up
- Jonathan Majors to join MCU as villain Kang the Conquerer, report says
- TikTok ban won’t prevent employees from being paid, US says in filing