Fans cheer during the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Crown Jewel pay-per-view at the King Saud … [+]
WWE wants to go big at WrestleMania 37—literally.
According to the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Wrestling Inc), the company is hoping to have a massive crowd of 45,000 fans each night of its flagship pay-per-view, which will take place on back-to-back nights on April 10 and 11: “WWE officials are looking to have 45,000 fans at Raymond James Stadium for each night of WrestleMania 37. A few months ago the hope was to put 30,000 fans inside Raymond James Stadium, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, but at a meeting held this past week a new goal of 45,000 fans each night was set.”
WWE’s ambitious goal stems from a recent meeting with representatives from the City of Tampa, which will play host to WrestleMania 37 inside Raymond James Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The site adds, “The city of Tampa held a meeting on Wednesday, March 10 with representatives from local hotels and they were told that WWE is pushing to run Raymond James Stadium at 75% capacity on both nights of WrestleMania, Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11. The capacity for a WrestleMania with the stage would have been 60,000, which is where the 45,000 figure comes from.”
It has been roughly a year since WWE last ran a show with fans in attendance due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the past year, WWE has hosted its shows out of the Performance Center and inside the ThunderDome, its state-of-the-art staging system that has emanated both from the Amway Center in Orlando and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. WWE has made the best out of a bad situation during that span, but as numerous states have been loosening Covid-19 restrictions, there has been rampant speculation that WWE will be one of the first major sporting organizations in the US to host a massive, fan-filled event reminiscent of pre-pandemic times.
Going back to the summer of 2020, WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon was reportedly hopeful that the company could have fans in attendance for SummerSlam, but that way of thinking, of course, turned out to be premature. Things have changed quite a bit recently, however, due to the more widespread availability of Covid-19 vaccines, and WWE announced earlier this week that tickets for the event would go on sale next week on March 16.
Now, WWE is looking to one-up the Super Bowl inside the same stadium in which the NFL’s big game took place.
According to The Orlando Sentinel, last month’s Super Bowl 55 had “an official attendance of 24,835, which was at 37 percent capacity. The Bucs played their home games this past season at 25% capacity.” While there is no official word on whether the city of Tampa will allow WWE to have as many as 45,000 fans inside Raymond James Stadium—or if that is even feasible given expected social distancing guidelines and the size of the typical WrestleMania stage—WWE officials are apparently hopeful this year’s WrestleMania redo will be “bigger,” just like McMahon wants the WrestleMania card to be.
WWE was supposed to host last year’s WrestleMania 36 event at the same venue until the sports world was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but if McMahon his way, the flagship event could mark what is—far and away—the biggest crowd for a sporting event in the US since the pandemic began last March.
This year’s PPV only has two matches, Roman Reigns vs. Edge and Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair, announced thus far, but the rare two-night spectacle will need plenty more blockbuster matches for WWE to reach its lofty goal of having 45,000 fans in attendance for two consecutive nights.
I specialize in the analysis of WWE, AEW and pro wrestling, having done so since 2010. I’m an LSU grad with a degree in journalism and a minor in English, and I have a