How WWE WrestleMania Has Become an Economic Catalyst for Host Cities

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 16: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson attends a press conference to announce that MetLife Stadium will host WWE Wrestlemania 29 in 2013 at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images)
Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images

WrestleMania is unquestionably the biggest event of the year for the WWE and the wrestling business as a whole, so it should come as no surprise that several high-profile cities are constantly trying to get their hands on the biggest spectacle in sports entertainment. Based on the revenue numbers for WrestleMania XXVIII, that will only be furthered as time goes on.

According to a WWE press release, WrestleMania XXVIII in Miami, Fla. generated $102.7 million is economic impact for the host city. That is $40 million more than WrestleMania XXVII in Atlanta, Ga. pulled in and it goes down as the most profitable WrestleMania in WWE history.

Sun Life Stadium was packed to gills with 78,363 fans in attendance for the event, 71 percent of which were non-locals. According to the press release, WrestleMania's economic impact on the Miami area was the equivalent of the creation of 1,020 full-time jobs.

During a time when employment rates are down, it is very difficult to fathom that a wrestling show could mean that much to a city. While the WrestleMania event itself generates tons of revenue in its own right, there is much more to WrestleMania than that as it is essentially an entire week of festivities.

Fan Axxess draws in tons of fans as they can meet their favorite superstars, view rare WWE memorabilia, participate in interactive games and watch bonus matches. Also, the Hall of Fame ceremony the night before WrestleMania is a huge draw as fans are afforded the opportunity to see some of their favorite superstars from the past immortalized.

Add to that all the goodwill appearances that superstars and divas make throughout the week and it's clear that WrestleMania is certainly a very positive economic endeavor for whichever city is lucky enough to host it. On April 7, 2013 East Rutherford, N.J. will have the good fortune of holding WrestleMania XXIX at MetLife Stadium, so the entire surrounding area should receive a big boost from the event.

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of WrestleMania XXIX will be New York City due to its close proximity to East Rutherford. There isn't much going on around MetLife Stadium, so most fans attending WrestleMania will probably spend the bulk of their time in the Big Apple.

It isn't as if New York needs that much more tourist revenue, but with an unlimited amount of things to do in the city, WrestleMania should only add to the mountain of cash that New York routinely brings in. New Jersey should do pretty well in its own right, though, especially when it comes to hotel stays as it is much cheaper to stay there than it is to stay in the city.

While it's impossible to pinpoint exactly where the cash flow will lead, there is no question that WrestleMania will be very lucrative for the area. In fact, I would be shocked if it didn't shatter the high-water mark set in Miami this year. People are bound to spend in the New York City area, so I can't imagine how much money will change hands over the course of that week.

Many people like to call WrestleMania the Super Bowl of professional wrestling, and I believe that is an apt comparison for a few reasons. Not only is it wrestling's biggest event, just like the Super Bowl is football's biggest event, but it is an event that people around the world want to attend and cities across the country want to host.

There are always several cities trying to earn a Super Bowl bid due to the influx of revenue that it would create, and while WrestleMania may not quite be on the same scale, it isn't far off. The vast majority of the Super Bowl's economic impact comes from the hundreds of millions of dollars that are spent on advertising rather than the event itself.

WrestleMania doesn't have that ability since it is on pay-per-view, but there are few sports or entertainment events that can hold a candle to it when it comes to being a catalyst for a city. Say what you will about professional wrestling having a niche audience, but that niche audience comes out in droves and the numbers certainly support that.


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