Despite growing pressure from fans, some government officials and others to move the event, WWE announced Thursday morning that Crown Jewel will go on as scheduled in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, next Friday, Nov. 2. WWE made this announcement as part of its Q3 earnings release published on its corporate website.
Below is the statement from the company as included in its earnings release. In the statement, WWE is pinning the decision to continue running the event at its scheduled location based on “contractual obligations” and an effort to ensure “2018 guidance” stays on schedule financially.
“WWE has operated in the Middle East for nearly 20 years and has developed a sizable and dedicated fan base. Considering the heinous crime committed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Company faced a very difficult decision as it relates to its event scheduled for November 2 in Riyadh. Similar to other U.S.-based companies who plan to continue operations in Saudi Arabia, the Company has decided to uphold its contractual obligations to the General Sports Authority and stage the event. Full year 2018 guidance is predicated on the staging of the Riyadh event as scheduled.”
Later in the filing, WWE notes that it “is continuing to monitor ongoing developments in the region, and there can be no assurances in this regard. If the event were to be cancelled, there could be material adverse impact on 2018 Adjusted OIBDA guidance. While not anticipated, it is possible that a cancellation could also impact expected results beyond 2018.”
In other words, WWE’s announcement that it is staging the event as scheduled is being based on the bottom line and nothing more, at least according to the company itself.
It has been reported but unconfirmed by various outlets that some WWE superstars told the company they would not travel to Saudi Arabia for the show. However, the Crown Jewel card has not only been unchanged — aside from the main event following Roman Reigns’ unexpected revelation that he is battling leukemia — but matches have been added to it over the last two weeks.
WWE has not mentioned “Saudi Arabia” on air while promoting Crown Jewel over the same time frame, and mentions of the location of the event had been removed from WWE.com. Tickets were supposed to go on sale for Crown Jewel last Friday but were never released.
CBS Sports will update this breaking news story shortly.
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