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The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that the Tampa Bay Sports Commission is submitting bids today to host WrestleMania in either 2023, 2024 or 2025; the city is also bidding to host the Royal Rumble in 2022 or 2023.
If awarded a bid for WrestleMania, the event would be held at Raymond James Stadium, a 65,890-seat stadium that is currently the home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The stadium’s record crowd is 72,000 fans at a U2 concert in 2009.
“I think it’s something we’ve been taking a hard look at for quite some time,” said Tampa Bay Sports Commission director Rob Higgins. “Naturally, we think with the rich tradition of professional wrestling in our community, with so many (WWE stars) who live here, with how much passion there is for professional wrestling, that it makes a lot of sense to try to host the premier event in WrestleMania.”
Tampa Bay has hosted four Super Bowls, and Raymond James Stadium is set to host the city’s fifth Super Bowl in 2021. The Tampa Bay Sports Commission has been instrumental in helping the city land bids for the 2017 College Football National Championship game, the NHL All-Star Game and the NCAA Frozen Four Championship.
“(WWE) will take some time to evaluate (the bid), and then I’m sure we’ll be in conversation with them to see where it takes us,” Higgins said.
McMahon’s Take: Tampa Bay would be an incredible host city for WrestleMania. For those unaware, outside of my duties here at the Torch, I cover college hockey full-time with College Hockey News. The college hockey version of the Final Four — the Frozen Four — has been held in Tampa twice and both times the city and the sports commission has knocked it out of the park. The closest NCAA hockey program to Tampa Bay is more than a 10-hour drive (Alabama-Huntsville) and the closest “premiere” program is at least a thousand miles away, yet the college hockey world keeps going back to Tampa for a reason … the commission and the city knows how to host a big event like this.
Not only that, but the entire layout of the city is super convenient for an event like WrestleMania. Amalie Arena, which would host the Hall of Fame, NXT and the Raw and SmackDown events following WrestleMania, is only a few miles from Raymond James Stadium. Near Amalie Arena is the Tampa Bay Convention Center — a perfect spot for Axxess — and right near the arena there are a ton of hotels, bars and restaurants. The city is literally tailor-made for an event like WrestleMania. It’s a running joke among my friends in the college hockey media that we want the Frozen Four in Tampa every single year. They’re incredible hosts.