"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."
Since the killing of Washington Post journalist and Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi, WWE has been under a PR storm from mainstream media and U.S. Senators to hold off on the event. With the negativity surrounding the show, John Cena has reportedly backed out of working Crown Jewel.
"Moving forward with Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia was an incredibly tough decision, given that heinous act," McMahon said. "But, at the end of the day, it is a business decision and, like a lot of other American companies, we decided that we're going to move forward with the event and deliver Crown Jewel for all of our fans in Saudi Arabia and around the world."
Tickets for the event officially went on sale yesterday and reportedly sold out in just under three hours. In April, WWE Greatest Royal Rumble was held at King Abdullah Intentional Stadium and had an attendance of around 60,000 fans. The venue for Crown Jewel holds about 25,000 seats.