It didn’t make much in the way of local news, but it should have. Those who gnash their teeth over the diminishing debt the State of Minnesota is incurring over the construction of U.S. Bank Stadium, one event that isn’t coming to town anytime soon is one that has been largely ignored.
Pro wrestling? Really?
On Monday, World Wrestling Entertainment announced that the Wrestlemania event, which is typically held on the first Sunday in April in between the semifinals and the finals of the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four, will return to New Orleans in 2018.
What makes that announcement significant is that it also takes U.S. Bank Stadium out of the running for 2019, because Minneapolis will host the Final Four that year, pushing back the earliest possible chance for Minnesota to host Wrestlemania to 2020.
While this may not seem overly important to casual sports fans, Minnesota Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development Lester Bagley has specifically mentioned the WWE and its Wrestlemania event as something Minnesota is openly competing to get.
When one considers the money that is involved and the revenue that is generated, it’s understandable why Minnesota would make a push to host the event.
Wrestlemania itself occurs on a Sunday, but wrestling’s version of the Super Bowl extends far beyond the four-hour show. It’s a week-long string of events that include multiple venues.
Every year, Wrestlemania includes a week of interactive fan events, WWE’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony the Saturday night before the event and extends into the following week. The recent history of Wrestlemania has included a show from developmental league NXT on the Friday before Wrestlemania and the two staple shows on USA Network – “Monday Night Raw” and “Smackdown Live” on the Monday and Tuesday following Wrestlemania. All three shows, as well as the Hall of Fame ceremony, are typically held in venues that hold approximately 15,000 fans and typically all sell out quickly.
What makes Wrestlemania a revenue generator is that, contrary to the accepted notion that wrestling fans are children of uneducated adults, fans travel from all over the world to attend Wrestlemania and the ancillary events included as part of the week-long festivities.
Unlike events like the Super Bowl and the Final Four, where fans routinely show up the Friday before the event starts and leave shortly thereafter, the spectacle of Wrestlemania keeps fans in the host city for four, five or six days, continually providing a fan base that will fill hotels, use bars and restaurants and keep numerous local cash registers working overtime.
While not landing the pinnacle annual event of the wrestling world hasn’t garnered much attention, those behind the scenes with the Vikings are likely feeling a bit defeated because, whether the mainstream media acknowledges it or not, Wrestlemania generates a lot of revenue for the host community and it would appear that Minneapolis missed out on the opportunity to host this flagship event for at least this decade.