Nashville looks to land Wrestlemania
When Nashville hosts WWE's SummerSlam on Saturday at Nissan Stadium, it may just be a warm-up in advance of one day hosting professional wrestling's main event: Wrestlemania.
Why it matters: Wrestlemania is a multi-day festival that uses several venues throughout its host city and attracts fans from around the world. Think of it like CMA Fest for wrestling nerds, with visitors booking up hotel rooms and short-term rentals for several days.
- Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and Arlington Mayor Jim Ross announced this year's Wrestlemania generated a $206.5 million economic impact for their region.
- Over the past 12 years, Wrestlemania has spurred over $1 billion in economic impact for its host communities, the Dallas Morning News reports.
The latest: During the legislative session, state Rep. Jason Zachary, a Knoxville Republican, mentioned the possibility of hosting Wrestlemania as one selling point for approving state funding for a new Titans stadium.
What he's saying: Zachary tells Axios that lawmakers heard a presentation from WWE about why Nashville is a desirable wrestling market. He says SummerSlam is a potential audition for wrestling's biggest event.
- "The conversations were about the possibility — obviously it's not a certainty — of within three to five years of that new facility being built, bringing Wrestlemania to Nashville," Zachary says.
- "It isn't like the old days when I grew up and Wrestlemania was a one-night event," says Zachary, adding he plans to be at Nissan Stadium for SummerSlam tomorrow. "Now it's two nights, and the tourist traffic it brings in will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars for our state."
State of play: Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. CEO Butch Spyridon tells Axios the WWE has expressed interest in Nashville, but "facilities have been the main obstacle." He says hosting SummerSlam is "a great start."
- "We can only hope this opens the door to further the conversation about Wrestlemania, and, without question, an enclosed stadium would enhance this opportunity greatly," Spyridon says.
- The host city for Wrestlemania is announced years in advance, so Nashville wouldn't land the event in the near future.
Meanwhile: SummerSlam will also serve as the homecoming for Nashville's Jeff Jarrett. The WWE Hall of Famer will be the special guest referee for the tag-team title match tomorrow.
- "My family has promoted professional wrestling in Nashville since 1946. SummerSlam is by far the biggest event — not only wrestling event, but the biggest pop culture event Nashville has ever seen," he tells Axios.
Jeff Jarrett's family ties to the wrestling business in Nashville go back three generations. His grandmother Teeny Jarrett began by selling tickets at the old Hippodrome arena and rose to co-owning a regional wrestling promotion.
- His father Jerry Jarrett was a promoter and worked in the creative side of the business for WWE. And Jeff Jarrett was a star performer before launching his own promotion, now called Impact Wrestling.
Go deeper: Jeff Jarrett is documenting his wrestling career on the podcast "My World With Jeff Jarrett." One episode chronicled the pivotal role of Tennessee Titans players in saving his wrestling promotion nearly 20 years ago.
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