In response to the coronavirus pandemic, AEW closed their sets and moved all their weekly filming to Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida.
The amphitheater space is next door to TIAA Bank Field, so it made sense as a home base for Dynamite & Dark. AEW is owned by Tony Khan, whose father owns the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags play in TIAA Bank Field.
Unfortunately, that stadium isn’t the only thing currently next door to Daily’s Place. Jacksonville officials are setting up the parking lot as a coronavirus testing center. They also recently closed all hotels in the area for everyone but essential personnel. Those changes forced AEW to find a new locale.
Wrestling Observer reports they have, and the company’s moved to an “undisclosed location” in the Southeast for taping today (Tues., Mar. 31) and tomorrow (Weds., April 1). It sounds like they’ll be looking to film as much as they can over the next couple of days, as the likelihood they’ll be able to continue to find spaces goes down as days go by - at least for a while.
AEW is keeping the location a secret “because they don’t want fans showing up and waiting in the parking lot and/or looking for autographs”, according to Observer’s Dave Meltzer.
As is the case with WWE’s insistence on continuing to work, AEW’s drive to bring entertainment to their fans and fulfill their contract to TNT is admirable. But there comes a point where it doesn’t matter how many safeguards you put in place, bringing together the number of people required to produce wrestling matches for television may just be too risky for those involved and the surrounding community.
The debate will continue... hopefully. Because if we end up with a trail of sick people that leads back to the WWE Performance Center or AEW’s “undisclosed location”, everyone loses.