WWE Will Resume Touring in July With Plan to Hit 25 Cities


World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., which saw the pandemic quash its lucrative touring business last year, is going back on the road.

The wrestling league will begin a 25-city tour in July in front of capacity crowds, the company said Friday. The tour begins July 16 in Houston, followed by events on July 18 in Fort Worth, Texas, and July 19 in Dallas. It will last until early September.

Confidence in hosting live events with fans is soaring due to the growing number of vaccinated people in the U.S. and a reduction in virus cases. Concert promoters have announced plans for major festivals and shows throughout the summer and fall, while the basketball playoffs are taking place with a limited number of fans in arenas.

WWE suspended its touring shows in March 2020 and has staged its two weekly events, Raw and SmackDown, without fans for 70 straight weeks. It offered a limited number of tickets for its biggest annual attraction, WrestleMania, which sold out two nights at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, in April.

The league has weathered the pandemic better than many live-events businesses thanks to media deals with Comcast Corp. and Fox Corp. The company’s revenue grew by 1% last year despite the loss of ticket sales at in-person events. WWE shifted from a touring show to its own performance center in Orlando, and then a trio of sports facilities in Florida.

Sales should perk up this year thanks to a new deal with Comcast that will fold its streaming service into the cable giant’s Peacock platform. Comcast said that WrestleMania led to a surge in sign-ups for Peacock.

The shares have climbed 19% this year, including a nearly 5% gain Friday in New York.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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