Apr 5, 2024 - News

WWE: WrestleMania generates $1.25B for host cities

Photo illustration of a WWE Championship belt decorated with dollar signs.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Can you smell what Philadelphia is cooking? That's the scent of cold, hard cash from WrestleMania, but critics are skeptical the event will generate as much economic impact as hoped for by tourism officials.

Why it matters: Host cities have seen more than $1.25 billion in economic impact from WrestleMania, with Philadelphia potentially raking in as much as $200 million, local tourism officials tell Axios.

  • Those numbers come from WWE's communications arm.

What they're saying: Larry Needle of PHL Sports, an arm of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, tells Axios that the event is a spectacle comparable to the Super Bowl and draws billions of social-media impressions.

  • "It has become an annual pilgrimage for its fans," he says. "From an event perspective, it doesn't get a whole lot better."
  • Alex Bassett Strange at Bassetts Ice Cream in Reading Terminal Market said they're opening takeout windows and doubling staff over the next few days in anticipation of bigger crowds.

Zoom out: Last year's WrestleMania in Los Angeles drew more than 161,000 fans and generated $215 million in economic impact, per WWE.

Yes, but: Corporations sometimes fudge economic impact numbers around big events.

Reality check: A Williams College study found that the Super Bowl probably only pulls in a quarter of what the NFL claims.

  • Temple economics professor Michael Leeds told Temple Now that WWE has likely "wildly exaggerated" WrestleMania's actual economic impact.
  • To reach the $150-$200 million cited by the company, each fan would have to spend about $1,300.

The latest: About 200,000 fans, a quarter from other states and countries, are expected to attend over the five days of events.

  • With WrestleMania back in the city for the first time since 1999, tourism officials reported that more than 90,000 tickets were snatched up within hours of them going on sale in August.

Zoom in: As of Thursday, average resale prices for WrestleMania tickets on the secondary market were $449 and $498 for Saturday and Sunday, respectively, per SeatGeek.

  • Saturday's prices were up 62% from last year, Axios' Max Millington reports.
  • Demand rose with many fans excited for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's appearance and a potential cameo from retired Eagle Jason Kelce.
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