By Barry Janoff
April 3, 2017: For WrestleMania 33, it’s all over except adding up the numbers and waiting for an invitation to the John Cena-Nikki Bella wedding.
WWE said that its annual mega-event, which took place Sunday night in Orlando’s Citrus Bowl (aka Camping World Stadium), broke the venue’s attendance record with 75,245 on hand. It also became the highest-grossing event in the stadium’s history, dating back to 1936, with $14.5 million, topping the record set by the Rolling Stones in 2015.
The previous Orlando Citrus Bowl attendance record was set by WrestleMania 24 in 2008 at 74,635.
The attendance figure was also No. 7 on the WWE’s all-time WrestleMania list.
According to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, "This is a testament to the investments we’ve made in our community venues that continue to attract these showcase events and solidify Orlando as the nation's leading sports and entertainment destination."
Not just wrestling, WrestleMania became a romantic attraction when icon John Cena proposed in the ring to his girlfriend, Nikki Bella of the top-ranked Bella Twins (moments after they defeated The Miz and Marse in a tag team match).
The move was fitting considering that the WWE unveiled plans over the weekend to create an event this summer starring 32 of the top female competitors from around the world, to air on WWE Network.
"Building on our Women's division, it gives us great pleasure to share in announcing what's next for WWE," WWE women’s champion Bayley said during a media event at WrestleMania 33 weekend. "For the first time ever, this summer, WWE Network will feature a Women's Tournament."
WWE has not yet gathered numbers regarding the financial impact of WrestleMania 33 on Orlando and the surrounding regions based on spending by people related to the event.
If recently history keeps to form, it should top $100 million, as have each of the past five WrestleManias.
Snickers was presenting sponsor for the second consecutive year. Partners also included DiGiorno, 5-Hour Energy Drink, Mattel and Cricket Wireless.
"WrestleMania made a triumphant return to Orlando and again broke multiple records,” John Saboor, WWE evp-special events," said in a statement. "This success would not have been possible without the tireless support of Mayor Dyer, the Local Organizing Committee and all of the public and private sector partners throughout Central Florida."
WrestleMania 34 is scheduled for April 8, 2018 in the New Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
WWE is also looking farther ahead, taking bids from potential sites and following a strategy taken by the NFL, which names its Super Bowl host cities years in advance, and the International Olympic Committee, which names host cities for the Summer and Winter Games seven years in advance.
"The level of sophistication around our bid process is quite impressive," said John Brody, evp-global sales and partnerships for WWE. "We put out RFPs (request for proposal). City and even state officials are part of those presentations. We ultimately make the decision based on a number of factors.
"But the commitment we have seen from Orlando, North Texas last year and already from New Orleans and the state of Louisiana has shown us that the power of WrestleMania is not just one day, one week. It’s the opportunity for us to leave a lasting impact in a city, a region."
Top Ten All-Time Attendance Records at WrestleMania
1. 101,763: WrestleMania 32 AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX, April 3, 2016
2. 93,173: WrestleMania 3 Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan, March 29, 1987
3. 80,676: WrestleMania 29 MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, April 7, 2013
4. 80,103: WrestleMania 23 Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan, April 1, 2007
5. 78,363: WrestleMania 28 Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida, April 1, 2012
6. 76,976: WrestleMania 31 Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California, March 29, 2015
7. 75,245: WrestleMania 33 Orlando Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida, April 2, 2017
8. 75,167: WrestleMania 30 Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA, April 6, 2014
9. 74,635: WrestleMania 24 Orlando Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida, March 30, 2008
10. 72,744: WrestleMania 25 Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas, April 5, 2009
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