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WWE Talent Tested Positive For Coronavirus; Florida Deems Company 'Essential' Business

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WWE Talent Tested Positive For Coronavirus; Florida Deems Company 'Essential' Business

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) confirmed this weekend that an on-air talent tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Fightful reported it "had been approached by nearly a dozen members of the WWE roster, and within the industry about an alleged COVID-19 positive test in WWE." Fightful eventually obtained a WWE memo that was sent out on April 5.

After Fightful published its report, WWE gave a statement to Pro Wrestling Sheet:

“A WWE employee has tested positive for COVID-19. We believe this matter is low risk to WWE talent and staff, as the individual and a roommate became symptomatic in the days following exposure to two people working in acute health care on the evening of March 26, after WWE’s TV production on a closed set was already complete. The employee had no contact with anyone from WWE since being exposed to those two individuals, is doing well, and made a complete recovery.”

The identity of the talent has not been made publicly available.

See Also: WWE Could Still Have A Record Year In 2020

Live Events Take A Big Hit

WWE has been airing empty arena shows during its weekly Monday, Wednesday and Friday night broadcasts over the past month, including its annual flagship Wrestlemania event that aired April 4-5. The shows were taped in advance at WWE's Orlando location, and the company has stressed multiple times it has taken every safety precaution possible.

However, WWE also confirmed this weekend it will begin airing its weekly shows live again, though still without a crowd.

“We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times,” WWE said in a statement. “We are producing content on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following appropriate guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of our performers and staff."

Fightful reported many WWE talents "were unhappy with the work environment, while another stated they didn't fear the illness and were willing to work as they need to work to justify their pay."

One of the company's top stars, Roman Reigns, pulled out of filming his Wrestlemania match and has not been seen or mentioned on WWE programming for several weeks. Reigns is immunocompromised following previous battles with leukemia.

WWE Deemed 'Essential Business'

Wrestling Inc reported Monday on how Orange County, Florida Mayor Jerry Demings was asked about WWE being allowed to continue operations during a press conference.

"I think initially there was a review that was done and they were not initially deemed an essential business. With some conversation with the Governor's office regarding the Governor's [stay-at-home] order, they were deemed an essential business. Therefore they were allowed to remain open," Demings said.

Financial Impact

In the second quarter of 2019, WWE reported $268.9 million in net revenue for the quarter. Of that $268.9 million, $48.8 million (18.1%) came from live events. WWE reported $17.1 million in operating income in the second quarter of 2019, and $12.4 million (72.5%) came from live events.

The company is expected to release first-quarter earnings results on April 23.

Photo credit: Miguel Discart, Wikimedia

 

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