WWE is moving to a new location. On Thursday, the company announced that WWE ThunderDome would move to Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay. The first show to host the ThunderDome at the Tampa Bay Rays home is SmackDown on Friday, Dec. 11. The show will start airing at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.
"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," Matt Silverman, Tampa Bay Rays President, said in a statement. "The ballpark will be transformed to host the spectacle of WWE ThunderDome, allowing fans to enjoy this wildly popular experience virtually."
It was reported last week that Tropicana Field was the likely candidate to be the new home of WWE ThunderDome as it was moving out of the Amway Center. WWE is moving the viewing experience to Tampa Bay is Amway Center will be used by the Orlando Magic starting next month for the NBA 2020-2021 season. WWE ThunderDome includes video boards, pyrotechnics, lasers, cutting-edge graphics and drone cameras. With fans not attending WWE events live, they can be there virtually through the ThunderDome.
"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," Kevin Dunn, WWE Executive Producer & Chief, Global Television Production, stated. "Our fans' response and industry-wide recognition are both humbling and further validation of the innovative spirit and passion that exist across the entire WWE organization."
WWE typically goes to football or basketball stadiums for weekly shows or pay-per-view events. However, the company has hosted events at baseball stadiums before. The most recent example was in January when WWE hosted the Royal Rumble at Minute Maid Park, the Houston Astros home. For the Royal Rumble in 2019, fans saw the action at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
WWE also announced that the ThunderDome at Tropicana Field would not have fans. All shows will be produced on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance. There is no word on when WWE will host fans for live events. The company stopped hosting events with fans back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.