TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - It has been a long time coming, but Tampa is going to host WrestleMania 36 in 2020.
Rumors of the city becoming a WrestleMania host have been swirling among wrestling fans, blogs and other websites. A year ago, Tampa placed a bid to host WrestleMania, but it wasn’t expected to be this soon.
It’s the main annual event for World Wrestling Entertainment and has been held in Florida only three times. Orlando hosted it in 2008 and 2017, and Miami hosted it in 2012. But it’s never been held in Tampa, which is home to many WWE wrestlers like John Cena, Dave Bautista, and Terry Bollea -- better known as Hulk Hogan, who was in the very first WrestleMania event back in 1985.
Officials who helped book the show are selling it as a pinch-me economic development opportunity. The Tampa Bay Sports Commission says the week of events will sell 50,000 hotel rooms and put Tampa on TVs everywhere. It will be seen in 180 countries.
"Once again, for people around the world who may not know where Tampa is, they will be able to turn on that TV, see WrestlemMania, see these amazing WWE superstars and say what a cool city this is," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
"This is crazy stuff. This is really, really exciting," Bollea offered after kicking off this morning's announcement in full 'Hulkster' mode.
Hulk Hogan enters to his old theme song to say Wrestlemania is coming to Tampa!! pic.twitter.com/EkIB4l02pQ— Evan Axelbank Fox13 (@EvanAxelbank) March 7, 2019
A big part of the "sell" is Tampa's wrestling history.
Buckhorn mentioned the bouts at the former Fort Hesterly Armory as precursors to WrestleMania 36.
"You think about the DNA that courses through our veins. Wrestling is part of it," said Buckhorn. "You think about the amazing legends that come out of this area. You think about the parents and grandparents who used to go to the armory."
"It's like a big family reunion. It's all of us," offered Tampa's Titus O'Neil. "I am thrilled that WrestleMania 36 will be right here at Raymond James Stadium next year."
Raymond James Stadium, which holds up to 66,000 people, will host WrestleMania on April 5, 2020. Ticket sales will be announced at a later date.
The stadium will have a busy start in 2020 with the launch of the XFL professional football franchise, with Tampa as one of the eight host cities. Homes games will be played at Raymond James Stadium. Earlier this week, Marc Trestman was introduced as the head coach of Tampa's XFL Team. In 2021, the stadium will also be the site of Super Bowl LV.
WrestleMania brings in fans from all around the world. In 2017, 75,245 people attended WrestleMania 33 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. It generated a $181.5 million economic impact for the region. WrestleMania 34 entertained a sold-out crowd of 78,133 fans inside New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It generated a $175 million economic impact for the city.
"There will be people from 86 different countries in Tampa," explained WWE Hall of Famer and Tampa resident Gerald Brisco. "There's no other event that could equal the globalness of this event."
This year, WrestleMania 35 will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.