Apr 4 2014, 8:49pm CDT | by Forbes
This weekend, tens of thousands of WWE fans from across the globe will converge upon New Orleans for WrestleMania 30. An event 364-days in the making, WWE fans largely converge upon the event not only because of their excitement over seeing the outcome of WWE’s pinnacle event, but in enjoying what WrestleMania’s host city has to offer. ”WrestleMania is that day once a year where everything taking place in the WWE universe converges in amazing fashion. Our fans have experienced everything their favorite Superstars and Divas have experienced over the year and at WrestleMania, the stories play out in the ring. Not only that, but many of our fans make WrestleMania the center of their family’s annual vacation. In that sense, it’s important that we host WrestleMania in a place that our fans would enjoy bringing their families to,” said WWE’s executive vice president of special events, John Saboor.
While much has been written since Hurricane Katrina about New Orleans utilizing sporting events to revitalize its economy, what in particular attracted WWE to host WrestleMania 30 there? Saboor notes a handful of elements factored into WWE’s decision, ranging from facilities to the convergence of the public and private sectors. ”New Orleans is such an attractive destination on so many different levels. First, is the bedrock of facilities that New Orleans has to host WrestleMania, WrestleMania Access, WrestleMania’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Monday Night Raw. The furthest two points between where all of those events will be held is 15-minutes by foot. Not only that, but these facilities exist within the central business district and French Quarter, which are points of appeal for people traveling to WrestleMania,” Saboor explained. In addition to the convenience New Orleans’ facilities presents for WrestleMania attendees, Saboor notes that WWE’s interactions with the public and private sectors in the city drove its decision to host WrestleMania 30 there. ”New Orleans has exceptional leadership that worked in the public and private sectors to attract and convene WrestleMania week. The leadership of the public and private sectors, which was led by [New Orleans mayor] Mitch Landrieu, have done an extraordinary job building a plan to welcome the world to New Orleans for this celebration,” Saboor said.
What might be motivating Landrieu and other New Orleans leaders to build plans to attract major sporting events to their city? Along with the positive public relations hosting such events creates for the city, the other likely factor is the economic impact generated. Studies show that most WrestleMania attendees reside in cities outside of the locations where WrestleMania is hosted. This factor helps drive significant revenues for WrestleMania’s host cities, as a large number of hotel nights are purchased and other incidental costs are incurred by attendees, such as rental car fees and dinners at restaurants. Given that WWE has found that a significant number of WrestleMania attendees turn attending the event into a week-long family vacation, the number of hotel nights and incidental expenses associated with WrestleMania tends to be higher than that seen surrounding other sporting events.
In recent years, the economic impact of WrestleMania has surged to new heights, and WWE expects that WrestleMania 30 will see a similar trend. According to the WWE, WrestleMania 28 and WrestleMania 29 generated over $100 million in economic impact for their respective host cities. A study conducted by Enigma Research Corporation found that WrestleMania 29 hosted at MetLife Stadium generated an economic impact of $101.2 million for the New York/New Jersey region. Furthermore, over the last six years, cities hosting WrestleMania have felt a $400 million cumulative economic impact, according to WWE. Based upon ticket sales for WrestleMania 30 as of last week, Saboor expects this year’s economic impact to be higher than that seen in recent years.
While some economists question the economic impact values derived by such studies, WWE is quick to expand upon the positive impact that hosting WrestleMania can bring to a city. ”In addition to our overarching goal of creating new and incremental economic windfalls for our host cities, there is a strong commitment by WWE to also generate a substantial level of pro-social windfalls through our community-based events planned during WrestleMania week. In WrestleMania’s schedule of events, there are 25 community events planned through the week. At least 14 of those events are community-based events that are planned to benefit New Orleans and the people who live there,” said Saboor.
As for which city will benefit in 2015 from the economic and community impacts that hosting WrestleMania brings, WWE has already made that decision. Next year, Santa Clara and Levi’s Stadium will host WrestleMania 31. Saboor notes that the decision to host WrestleMania in a stadium that does not yet exist was largely driven by the technological offerings the stadium will provide. ”WWE has always taken great pride in offering a cutting-edge fan experience. The opportunity to host WrestleMania in Levi’s Stadium will offer an unprecedented experience not only for fans in attendance, but for those watching around the world. Technology is the cornerstone of Levi’s Stadium. With WWE’s continued commitment to fan experience and digital media experience, it was a perfect marriage. They delivered a vision that we were so favorably impressed by that had as its foundation technology and the fan experience,” Saboor explained.
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