WWE always prides itself on innovation and with the advent of WWE ThunderDome, even a global pandemic has not stopped them from continuing to be at the forefront of innovation.
Rajan Mehta, WWE's chief product and technology officer and a six-year veteran of the company, recently spoke to Sport Techie about how the brand continues to innovate and looking at its presentation beyond the days of the pandemic.
“We take pride in how we’ve operated through COVID-19; we tried to innovate every portion of our organization,” said Rajan. “It’s important to create a diversion in these hard times and we took that to heart: we never stopped producing content and our weekly shows. We were really excited about that. Back in March, we moved content creation to Orlando without fans, central personnel only. And most recently with the ThunderDome at Amway, we are able to have 1,000 fans in attendance at any given time. When I look at what we did, at our technology and production capabilities, I feel like we set the bar.”
He continued, “The ability to try and bring fans to our environment and give the energy of what WWE is—it feels great to watch. Part of what we do is create this energy at WWE and it ties into our overall production value.”
Looking past the thick of the COVID-19 era, Rajan finds comfort in the wise words of Yogi Berra.
"I always like to quote Yogi Berra when people ask me about predictions. He said, ’It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.’ But if you look at what we’ve done over the last several months from a content perspective, I can see some of that continuing into the future from a production standpoint. From a technology standpoint, we’ve gained a lot of information from a remote working and production/editing perspective, and some of that could live on.
“We’re living in a world where things have changed so much. Right now, this virtual audience we’ve built out has been really impactful. There’s been a desire to watch sports, and part of that is the interaction you can have with fans, and I think what we’ve done with the ThunderDome has been phenomenal. A few years ago, direct-to-consumer technologies helped broaden the sports and entertainment world. The evolution of sports production will continue. That video quality and immersion will continue to grow and with the 5G rollout, that evolutionary stuff is going to take another leap forward.”
WWE has a residency at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, the current home of ThunderDome until the end of October 2020.