WWE Thunderdome is moving 30-something miles across Old Tampa Bay from Tropicana Field to the University of South Florida’s Yuengling Center. The trucks will arrive just in time for the April 12 “Raw” after WrestleMania, which is always a biggie on the pro-wrestling calendar.
WrestleMania 37 will take place the over prior two nights at Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium, where the Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers play.
WWE is planning for 25,000 fans, each night, at WrestleMania. Raymond James’ capacity is 65,890.
WWE Thunderdome originally took up residency at the Amway Center in Orlando, where the NBA’s Magic play, before spending four months where the Rays play baseball. Well, Tampa Bay’s Major League Baseball team is going to need its stadium back, so the giant wall of screens is heading off to college.
It won’t be the first residency at a Florida institution of higher learning for WWE. Its minor league brand NXT used to tape shows exclusively at Full Sail Arena. Those now take place at the WWE Performance Center.
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 received top honors at last year’s Sportel Awards for Best Virtual Fan Experience.
“WWE has always been a highlight of our event mix and bringing this world-class residency to Yuengling Center only strengthens our relationship,” Kevin Preast, executive vice president of event management at Vinik Sports Group, said in a statement on Wednesday. “Hosting WWE ThunderDome is another step towards a full return of hosting more events in the area.”
“WWE takes great pride in providing our fans and network partners with cutting-edge production and one of the most interactive atmospheres in all of television every single week,” Kevin Dunn, WWE executive producer & chief, global television production, said. “We look forward to the next iteration of the WWE ThunderDome at Yuengling Center as we continue to take the fan experience to a whole new level.”
To date, more than 650,000 fans from around the world have registered to be part of WWE ThunderDome. 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.