WWE Has Reportedly Picked a Date for Live Fans to Return

The WWE's days inside the ThunderDome are finally coming to an end. According to Andrew Zarian via [...]

The WWE's days inside the ThunderDome are finally coming to an end. According to Andrew Zarian via The Matt Men Podcast (who has broken a number of stories in the past few months), WWE has selected an official date where it will begin featuring live fans again — Friday, July 16. The details in the report were very minimal with Zarian saying, "Let me read the message, 'Fans back July 16-19.' I don't know if that's a one-off week where they're going to have fans, but it looks like July 16 they're going to go back to having a live audience."

WWE officials have repeatedly stated that the plan was always to start touring again in the second half of 2021, which fits right in with the reported date.

"Any plans? Yes. Any plans we can share? Stay tuned," WWE president Nick Khan told Variety shortly after running limited crowds at WrestleMania 37. "But just know that once we're back on the road, we're on the road full time. We're not looking to do other one offs. Again, this was WrestleMania. And we felt it needed to be done for the fans. So look for news coming soon."

Khan also mentioned during the latest investors' conference call that the company believes the shows returning to arenas will also help with television ratings.

"... As it relates to live events that [the audience] always matters to us. Our fans are our fourth wall, if you will," Khan said. "We know immediately from them what's working and what's not working. The ThunderDome was a phenomenal creation by the creative team here, but to get live fans and to get our performers in front of them, we yearn for that as much as our performers do. And we think it's going to have a direct impact on all parts of our business in an overwhelmingly positive way."

As for WWE's pay-per-views, Sunday's WrestleMania Backlash and Money in the Bank (June 20) are both expected to be in the WWE ThunderDome. SummerSlam will reportedly be in an arena in August (WWE is still narrowing down the potential venues) but it's unclear where Extreme Rules (July 18) will also be in front of live fans.