WWE announced Monday that it would be going forward with WrestleMania 36, but in not in the way it was originally planned.
Due to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis, WWE has decided to move the event from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., and instead move it to its training center in Orlando.
The event will take place without any fans and only essential personnel will be granted access into the building to help produce the event.
WWE released the following statement on Monday:
“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 p.m. 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.”
In addition to the WrestleMania, Tampa will also be losing out on all other WWE related events that were scheduled for the weekend, including Raw, SmackDown, the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony and NXT TakeOver.
Not long after WWE announced the decision, the Tampa Bay Local Organizing Committee released a statement too.
“Our community has waited 36 years to host WrestleMania, and while we are saddened that this unforeseen situation has led us to today’s announcement, this is totally the right call for the safety and security of everyone involved,” the statement said. “A huge thank-you to all of our local leaders and our friends at the WWE, as we collectively worked through the unprecedented fluidity of the last few weeks. The Team Tampa Bay-WWE partnership has never been stronger.”
This is a major financial blow to both WWE and the Tampa Bay area. Each of the last two years, in and around WrestleMania time, the stock for World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. has peaked around the $100 USD on the New York Stock Exchange. But with the global stock market plunging, WWE’s stock closed just above $30 per share Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Tampa was expecting tourism spending well in excess of $100 million. According to a financial report commissioned by the WWE, last year’s WrestleMania 35 in the New York City area garnered $165.4 million in visitor spending. When WrestleMania was last in Florida, 2017 in Orlando, tourism generated $181.5 million.