WWE has taken some heat for proceeding with WrestleMania despite the fact that most entertainment brands have shut things down and closed their doors. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, WWE is hosting WrestleMania 36 on Saturday and Sunday night, claiming that they’re giving fans what they might desperately need: a chance to forget and enjoy something in a time that isn’t so enjoyable.
Saying they owe it to the fans to “put smiles on faces”, that’s not the only reason WWE is forging ahead. In fact, Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated details and intriguing reason WWE is refusing to throw in the towel.
There was a report WWE is making leaking spoilers a “fireable offense.” It’s just another measure in a long line of measures WWE is undertaking to have the show go on. Considering the company can’t possibly recoup the costs of having to move the show to an empty arena and now all the lost merchandise and gate revenue out the window, why bother?
The simple answer is that WWE sees hosting WrestleMania 36 under the worst of conditions is a smart long-term play.
The Long-Term Benefits Of Moving Forward
While the economy is falling all around them and a strong WrestleMania won’t help WWE recoup costs that the WWE has now lost because they aren’t at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, “WWE can still deliver an amazing show, which is always good PR,” says Barrasso. He adds that Vince believes that his company can be the one company that is able to carry on in the face of such uncertainty. And, that will have value to stockholders who are losing their shirts right now with the markets crashing.
Essentially, Vince believed that if he could turn a negative into a positive and WWE could show they are “embracing the no-crowd element and making captivating cinematic matches”, people will take notice. if WrestleMania draws strong numbers, investors ears will perk up. Essentially, Vince wants to prove WWE is impervious to any disaster.
It’s why he shifted gears so quickly and moved to an empty arena. It’s why he doesn’t talk about the virus on television. It’s why he’s selling television rights to networks like Fox Sports, FITV TV and ESPN to air WWE footage. He wants to show that WWE can still make money despite the challenges the world is facing.
In the end, McMahon sees the value in moving forward, even if it’s not a profit in the short-term. Barrasso writes, “The story of WrestleMania 36 will make for an incredible documentary, likely available sooner than we think on the WWE Network.” That has value too in the form of subscribers who want to see how WWE pulled all of this off.
The reality here is that no stone is being left un-turned by WWE right now and that everything, if it’s down the road that WWE sees a return, has value.