Published on September 13th, 2020 📆 | 1796 Views ⚑0
WWE’s Chief Technology Officer opens up on their various innovations during pandemic
WWE fan displays Chris Benoit photo on ThunderDome screen
Rajan Mehta, WWE’s Chief Product and Technology Officer is the brains behind the WWE Thunderdome. Due to the Thunderdome, every WWE show has become more immersive for fans. Mehta, who has been working for WWE for six years, revealed that more than 85,000 requests have come through in order to get access in order to appear on the shows.
Mehta spoke to SportTechie, where he discussed the current landscape of sports as a whole. He said that it is everchanging and there are innumerable options available which drive the technological need in order to meet the demands.
“The volume of sports and entertainment has grown exponentially in terms of niche sports leagues, niche television content, and streaming,” Mehta said. “There’s many more options for people today. You have a combination of factors that drive that. The technology enablement to allow a lot of this, and then people’s general cultural desires, it’s very positive for sports and entertainment. But at the same time, you want to make sure you have innovation happening within your league/television show/entertainment property.
“Broadly at WWE, we’ve always had a willingness to reimagine, disrupt, take calculated risks, and stay relevant,” Mehta continued. “It’s about treating every day as if it’s your first day on the job and staying slightly ahead of the curve. We have that in our DNA. We’ve always taken those calculated risks. We were ahead of the game in terms of distribution of content. In 2014, we launched WWE Network, direct-to-consumer. A lot of properties were thinking about doing it, but we went ahead and did it, and it was a huge success for us.”
He then added how it is important for the company to be innovative during the COVID-19 pandemic as they are no longer able to bring a live audience during shows.
“We take pride in how we’ve operated through COVID-19; we tried to innovate every portion of our organization,” Mehta said. “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.
“Most recently with the Thunderdome at Amway, we are able to have 1,000 fans in attendance at any given time,” Mehta added. “When I look at what we did, at our technology and production capabilities, I feel like we set the bar. 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 that ties into our overall production value.”