TAMPA, Fla. (WTAJ) — First the first time in the illustrious 36 years of WrestleMania, the “showcase of the immortals” is facing a threat that may cause Vince McMahon and the WWE to cancel the event.
A massive moneymaker, not only for the WWE, but also for the host city, the typical WrestleMania Weekend runs from Fan Axxess on Thursday Night until Monday Night RAW is over. With anywhere from 70,000-100,000 fans from all over the world, the economic impact on the host city is massive, breaking at least $150,000,000 these past few years.
With an event that big, boasting fans from over 50 countries buying tickets and being in attendance, there’s a good reason the Coronavirus is on the watch list of the WWE.
Both the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization have issued warnings of the potential arrival of the outbreak within the United States.
“You’ve got to be nimble, and you’ve got to be ready,” said Rob Higgins, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission.
“Five weeks is a long time, so it’s hard to predict. I think we just continue to gather as much information as we can so that we are as prepared as possible,” said Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer of the WWE, daughter of CEO/Owner Vince McMahon.
With Tampa officials now on alert that the coronavirus has been diagnosed in the city, it’s hard to say what might happen in the next five weeks.
The only other time WrestleMania saw a ‘drastic’ change was WrestleMania 7 when they moved from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena due to lower than expected ticket sales. On TV, of course, the WWE claimed they moved indoors for the safety of Sgt. Slaughter, a “war hero” character who turned on Hulk Hogan and aligned with the Iron Sheik as an “Iraqi Sympathizer” and they were worried about snipers.
With this being the biggest show of the year, the biggest WEEKEND of the year for WWE, wrestlers, businesses, and fans, it’s now just a waiting game to see what may unfold.