WWE takes legal action against Texas AG Ken Paxton to prevent disclosure of 2023 Royal Rumble bidding details

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has taken legal action against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in an effort to prevent the disclosure of bidding information pertaining to the 2023 Royal Rumble event, which took place in San Antonio the previous year. The lawsuit was initiated in response to a public information request made by journalist Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics in February, seeking public records related to the WWE Royal Rumble, including details on attendance, sales, and communications between the City and the wrestling organization.

It is common practice for major WWE events to be bid on by local governments, such as cities or even countries, in order to host the event and benefit from the economic stimulus it brings to the region. In return for hosting the event, these local governments often provide financial subsidies to WWE. The 2023 Royal Rumble held in San Antonio serves as an example of this practice, with a similar bidding process taking place for a recent WWE show in Perth, Australia.

The city of San Antonio raised objections to the disclosure of the requested information, prompting Paxton’s office to issue a letter on April 28, 2023, allowing the city to withhold certain details, including WWE’s license agreement for the event at the Alamodome. However, in January 2024, Paxton’s office reversed its previous decision to require the disclosure of the information, a move that WWE is contesting in the lawsuit, arguing that the initial ruling was correct and should be upheld.

In a brief submitted to Paxton’s office, WWE contended that the information in question pertains to the confidentiality of trade secrets. The organization emphasized that the requested details, such as proposed percentage splits, fees, economic impact assessments, and pricing methodologies, are considered commercial and financial information that could provide competitors with an advantage if disclosed. WWE’s Senior Vice President, Head of Global Communications, Chris Legentil, highlighted the limited internal dissemination of such sensitive information within the organization.

In its plea to the court, WWE is seeking a ruling that Paxton erred in determining that the confidential agreement should be made public and that he misapplied the relevant laws governing the release of information. Furthermore, WWE announced an upcoming live taping of their show “Friday Night Smackdown” at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on March 8, underscoring the ongoing activities of the wrestling entertainment giant amidst the legal proceedings.

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