BREAKING: WrestleMania to Air Live from the Performance Center

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WrestleMania Tampa
Credit: WWE

WrestleMania 36 and talk of it being canceled/postponed has been all the talk the past two weeks and on Monday, we finally got word of the fate of the event. In a shocking outcome, WWE has not opted to postpone WrestleMania which was initially expected but rather to air it live from the Performance Center instead of Tampa Bay. The announcement that initially came from Ryan Satin, was confirmed by WWE a few moments later.

“In coordination with local partners and government officials, WrestleMania and all related events in Tampa Bay will not take place. However, WrestleMania will still stream live on Sunday, April 5 at 7 pm ET on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view. Only essential personnel will be on the closed set at WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida to produce WrestleMania.”

On Wednesday, March 11th it seemed Tampa Bay was going ahead with plans to host WrestleMania as scheduled as top city officials confirmed the event was still on and that the situation was being monitored. It wasn’t until a few hours later when WrestleVotes reported that the chance of WrestleMania going on as scheduled was “not looking good,” that concern began to become real regarding the possibility of there being no Mania this April. While WWE had the opportunity to weigh in on the decision as Mayor Castor promised would be the case when talking to 102.5 The Bone FM, ultimately, the city of Tampa Bay was expected to make the final call. They didn’t, instead deferring the decision a week in hopes WWE would make the call. Well, it is likely no one expected the call the company ultimately decided to make.

No decision has been made regarding the rest of the week’s events including WrestleMania Axxess, NXT TakeOver: Tampa Bay, the Hall of Fame, Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown, but it is likely the TV events will air as planned from the Performance Centter, much as Raw and SmackDown have been for the past week.

WrestleMania is now one of the only remaining sporting events still on the calendar following the suspensions of MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA, ATP, MLS, PGA, NASCAR, UFC and many more events. Second to none in terms of attendance, WrestleMania draws anywhere from 70-100,000 fans on average (which is more than the Super Bowl), from all over the world, all in one city for the ‘Show of Shows.’ The economic impact for hosting WrestleMania, while not nearly as lucrative of the Super Bowl, is no small number as cities receive anywhere from $130-180M on average in revenue when hosting the WWE’s marquee card. By most metrics, WrestleMania’s brand value is more than the World Series, Final Four, College Football Playoff and more. For that reason cities bid on the right to host WrestleMania, in much the same way countries bid on a chance to host the Olympics. Tampa Bay won the bid for 2020, marking their first time hosting WrestleMania and the state of Florida’s fourth, following two prior Manias in Miami and one in Orlando. Make no mistake, holding the event without fans is going to have a massive economic effect on WWE and the city that paid to host it.

In recent years, WrestleMania’s host city has also become the mecca for independent wrestling companies across the world to come and hold their own shows. As a result of WrestleMania’s massive success, many of the world’s independent wrestling companies have joined in on the fun, creating a week full of events that are huge revenue drivers both for the companies and host city involved. However, this year, the cancellations for these indie events are adding up by the day as about half of the promotions set to run have announced the need to cancel their events due to CDC guidelines and travel restrictions.

The global impact of the coronavirus and steps being taken to stop its spread are unprecedented. When the outbreak of COVID-19, known most commonly as the coronavirus, reached the United States, CDC officials warned that Americans could face “significant disruptions” in their daily life. Now, as the calendar heads to mid-March and the World Health Organization has officially declared this a global pandemic, we’ve already begun to see the result of these disruptions as it relates to education and entertainment specifically. Across the country, colleges and universities are moving their classes fully online, and in an effort to stop the community spread of the coronavirus, city and state government officials are shutting down large public gatherings including parades, festivals, and concerts, putting states on lockdown, closing non-essential business and imposing curfews. And yet, through it all, WrestleMania stands tall. As strange as it will be to see some of the biggest matches and biggest names step foot in the PC, at least fans have something to look forward to at a time where just about everything around them, including their way of life, has been cancelled.

As we continue to get updates on how the coronavirus will affect WWE and other wrestling companies both for WrestleMania Week and beyond, stay tuned to Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.

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