The prospects for Miami hosting another WrestleMania Week are very good.
WWE was very pleased with the relationship built between its staff, talent, fans and the Miami-Dade County community, hosting the extravaganza.
It wasn’t Miami-Dade County’s first rodeo, but it was its first WrestleMania, and everyone celebrated its success.
“WWE has a special relationship with Miami-Dade, and one that we hope will do nothing but continue to grow over time,” said John Saboor, Senior Vice President of Special Events for WWE.
The partnership includes the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium, the Miami Heat and the AmericanAirlines Arena, the Miami Beach Convention Center, Star Island, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Miami-Dade County Commission, city of Miami Beach and most notably the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, led by its chairman, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose Pepe Diaz.
“We’re very encouraged by the continued growth [of WrestleMania Week],” Saboor said. “Our partners [for WrestleMania Week in Miami], led by Commissioner Diaz, did an exceptional job of embracing the vision for the continued growth of WrestleMania and WrestleMania Week. We think that has so much to do with the success.
“All the public and private sector partners that served to make-up the local organizing committee truly reinforced Miami-Dade County’s strong reputation as a major event host. The [Miami] partners came together very early and worked tirelessly throughout the planning process to put Miami-Dade’s best foot forward.”
That bodes well for a county accustomed to hosting major events -- NFL Super Bowls, NCAA National Championship Football Games, World Cup Soccer Games, NBA Finals, MLB World Series, NASCAR Championships.
“We’ll soon began our selection process for the placement of WrestleMania 31 in 2015 and WrestleMania 32 in 2016,” Saboor said, “and it is our absolute hope that Miami-Dade will be an early and active participant in that exciting discussion.”
WWE recently announced that WrestleMania 28 generated a record-breaking $102.7 million in economic impact for Miami-Dade County, according to a study conducted by the Enigma Research Corporation.
“Our domestic and international fans combined to create a result that serves as another powerful testament to the worldwide appeal of Miami as a destination,” Saboor said.
This record for WrestleMania’s economic impact represents a $40 million increase over WrestleMania 27 in Atlanta. WrestleMania 28 also generated approximately $15.3 million in local, state and county taxes.
“There are three very powerful factors that combine an incredible convergence to produce the result,” Saboor said. “Number one, 71 percent of those fans who attended were from outside of the [direct market access], and even more telling was that of those fans traveling into Miami almost 23 percent of them live outside the United States.
“Comparatively, for WrestleMania 27 [in Atlanta], those international fans represented only six percent. So that number very much reinforced Miami as a gateway city with an incredible international airport with incredible service to cities and countries around the world, very easy to travel there, and I think we saw many of those domestic and international fans combined attending WrestleMania Week with their annual family vacation. Miami was a significant appeal in that decision process for fans traveling.
“Another key factor that served to produce this result was that our fans stayed an average of four nights. How does that compare against last year? That’s up from 3.2 nights average in Atlanta, further reinforcing the point that many chose to make this their annual family vacation.
“Third, WrestleMania attendance increased by 6,746.”
Attendance and financial records were also set -- http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/16/2752838/more-records-set-for-wwe-wrestlemania.html -- as a capacity crowd of 78,363 fans from all 50 states and 36 countries attended WWE’s pop-culture extravaganza on April 1 at Sun Life Stadium, football home of the Miami Dolphins in Miami Gardens.
“So we also know 29 percent of fans who attended were from within the market [locally],” Saboor said, “and we also know fans will attend more than one WrestleMania Week event as reported by Enigma...Our goal is to always appeal to the WWE Universe but to also create points of experience for new fans from within the host community.”
WrestleMania 28, headlined by the return of Miami’s The Rock in singles action against John Cena, generated 1,217,000 pay-per-view buys, an increase of roughly 160,000 buys. The pay-per-view served as the main event, and those watching at home and live felt it.
“This year’s results further demonstrates the continued incremental growth of WrestleMania and the positive economic and pro social impact that it creates for its host community,” Saboor said. “We will always focus on building on the WrestleMania Week experience and create points of appeal that serve as the impetus for people to consume more and more of the WrestleMania Week experience. I think we’ve seen steady and consistent growth over the last several years, and we’re dedicated to building upon the prior year’s success when we’re planning for the next scheduled WrestleMania Week.”
WWE WrestleMania 29 occurs Sunday, April 7, 2013 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The event will be broadcast on pay-per-view and again viewed in more than 100 countries.
Saboor is Mr. WrestleMania (behind the scene’s version).
When he served as the president of the Central Florida Sports Commission, Saboor was instrumental in landing WrestleMania 24 for Orlando.
WWE was so impressed with his efforts — the first to actually pursue WWE about WrestleMania — the multi-million dollar company hired him mainly to acquire bids from cities like Miami interested in hosting WrestleMania, check the locations and work with those fortunate to facilitate the week-long extravaganza.
“Each city [hosting WrestleMania] has been so very strong in its own right,” Saboor said. “Miami-Dade just emphasized for WWE the importance of truly partnering with the host community to stage our greatest annual celebration. It would be very hard to imagine WWE staging this week-long celebration alone.”
Diaz said in a release: “WrestleMania Week brought tens-of-thousands of fans from across the globe to sample the beautiful hotels, restaurants and businesses of Miami. Our economy, as well as our community, significantly benefited from the week of events, and we thank WWE for shining its international spotlight on our wonderful city.”
WrestleMania Week extended from March 28-April 2 with events like WrestleMania (Sun Life Stadium), WWE Hall of Fame (AmericanAirlines Arena), WWE WrestleMania Fan Axxess (Miami Beach Convention Center) and WWE Monday Night Raw (AmericanAirlines Arena). There are also important causes and charitable outreach during the week, i.e. WWE Be a STAR anti-bullying programs (Hialeah Gardens and John F. Kennedy middle schools), WWE charity golf tournament (Doral Golf Resort), WWE art auction/fashion show (Star Island), hospital visits (Joe DiMaggio Children’s and Holtz), WWE WrestleMania Reading Challenge (Miami-Dade County Main Library), Make-a-Wish pizza party (Jungle Island) and more.
“We put so much emphasis on building with our partners in the host community a very strong blend of not only economic windfall but also pro social windfall and legacy,” Saboor said. “Our chairman [Vince McMahon] has placed enormous emphasis on not only our event presentation but what we do for our host community to create legacy in giving back to community-based organizations and conducting events that are designed to benefit that host community.
“We could not be more proud of those elements of WrestleMania Week and can not emphasize how important they are to the overall event make-up and planning.”
And the fans had a great time as did WWE talent.
Saboor said: “We’ve received so many positive comments from WWE superstars, divas and legends about their experience during WrestleMania Week in Miami-Dade and the strong sense of welcome that they felt from the time they landed at the airport until they left for their next live event after WrestleMania Week. It’s happened every year, but it was even more prevalent this year.”
WWE superstar and renaissance man Chris Jericho, lead vocalist for the rock band Fozzy and a former ABC “Dancing With the Stars” contestant, delivered a stellar WrestleMania 28 match against WWE champ CM Punk. Jericho, a WrestleMania veteran, can attest to Miami as a host, commenting at a WrestleMania 28 press conference.
“The thing I liked best about Miami was actually — and it sounds weird — but for us, it’s like the hotel we’re staying at, the Intercontinental [for several days]. That’s been the best, by far, hotel as far as the organization they had for us. The people who work there were amazing. It’s been very pain free.
“Every year [for WrestleMania Week], there’s usually something going on — too many fans at the hotel, this or that. So the Intercontinental was amazing. The [Miami Beach] Convention Center where we had [WrestleMania] Axxess was amazing. The stadium is incredible. I was here [Sun Life] a couple of years ago to see Paul McCartney which was amazing. So this is just a great city for what I’ve seen and everything just very concentrated, and the people were great, really.
“A lot of times you say that, but I really mean it. Miami has really supported WrestleMania and made this one very special for all of us.”
One of many things that made it special for fans watching via pay-per-view or later on DVD was legendary announcer Jim Ross. The WWE Hall of Famer called the End of an Era match, another great WrestleMania 28 attraction, with Undertaker vs. Triple H in Hell in a Cell (special guest ref Shawn Michaels).
A long-time pro wrestling/sports entertainment associate, Ross understands the business.
“I think the average fan doesn’t realize how many people from out of their region travel to a WrestleMania,” Ross said. “A WrestleMania to our genre is no different than a Super Bowl is to an NFL fan. A WrestleMania exceeds a Game 7 in the NBA because the NBA doesn’t play in stadiums as a rule.
“WrestleMania as a destination, there’s always 25 to 30 countries represented, fans who buy tickets and travel. So the airline impact is good. They got to stay somewhere. They got to eat. They got to have transportation, and they shop. It’s a great multi-pronged economic boost because of so many people traveling.
“Those who don’t come to the event [WrestleMania] who are local, they go to Axxess, our version of a fanfest. I think it’s wonderful, and I think it’s going to continue to grow because our footprint and the strength of our television partners internationally continues to grow. The more eyeballs that see what we do. The more people who get emotionally invested in WrestleMania, the more they will come to the event.
“Miami was a great host. The city fathers were excellent. They made everybody feel welcome. They went out of their way to accommodate a lot of unique needs, travel wise, logistically, things of that nature. The weather was great. So I was very pleased when I saw that number [record WrestleMania Week economic impact]. It was outstanding. The people it touched -- a lot of folks don’t understand -- was the additional security people, additional hotel staff, restaurant staffing, and then all their vendors who provide them their products to sell. It’s a trickle down that goes very deep.”
• About Enigma Research Corporation:
Enigma Research Corporation is an international consulting firm which specializes in measuring the economic impact of special events. Enigma’s economists developed a customized model which converted expenditures into economic impact, employment created and taxes generated as a result of the event.
“Enigma has established through a long history of service nationally and internationally that they are certainly a subject matter expert within this field,” Saboor said. “We believe it’s important and appropriate to have a third party conduct a study to determine economic impact results. We think that economic study has to be conducted by experts, and Enigma has established itself within this industry as being very well regarded.
“Many event owners and organizers, cities and local organizing committees engage third party research firms as a very important industry practice. We think it’s not only important to understand the impact that WrestleMania Week creates for a host community, but we think it’s also important for those who would think about submitting future proposals to host.”
• About WWE:
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family-friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 145 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 600 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Istanbul and Tokyo.
• WWE Monday Night Raw, a three-hour live show, is 8 p.m. EST on the USA Network.