WrestleMania really packs
a profitable punch, according to a study that pegs its economic impact at $181 million.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer typically keeps a WWE championship belt on display in a meeting room at City Hall.
And no wonder — the professional wrestling company has meant a lot to the city financially.
The WWE’s signature event, WrestleMania, added $181.5 million in economic impact to Central Florida during six days of festivities last spring, according to the results of an independent study released today by WWE and the mayor’s office.
“The number actually exceeded our expectations,” Dyer said. “We went in expecting $130 to 150 million based on prior years. But $181 million is huge for our community and it really shows that WrestleMania has been one of our significant events in Central Florida.”
The centerpiece of the week, WrestleMania 33 at Camping World Stadium, drew an announced crowd of 75,245 Apr. 2 — a stadium record — but that was only one of dozens of events that took over the city. Sellout crowds attended four separate events at Amway Center, while fan festivals and community events featuring WWE superstars attracted attention all week.
WrestleMania was a hit with the locals, but it also drew heavily from outside the region, according to the study conducted by the Enigma Research Commission. 79 percent of fans came from outside Central Florida, a crowd that spanned all 50 states and 62 countries. Visitors spent $24.8 million on accommodations, averaging 5.6 nights here.
John Saboor, the WWE’s executive vice president of special events, said the average length of stay was key to the total, the highest in the 11 years the promotion has commissioned the impact study. For the first time at WrestleMania, WWE added a sixth day of live events, including an Apr. 4 Smackdown Live TV taping at Amway Center.
“The length of stay is disproportionately larger than our other major event contemporaries and that was one of the most dramatic increases in the study.” said Saboor, former president of Central Florida Sports Commission. “We were excited to make Smackdown Live a part of the week and it was a big part of the appeal for our fans.”
Dyer said he was pleased the study showed nearly one-third of WrestleMania attendees came from outside the United States. “That’s a number that I don’t even know if other events like the World Cup [soccer qualifier on Oct. 6] can match.” Other findings: $24.8 million was spent on hotels and accommodations.
$9.3 million was spent by visitors to Orlando at area restaurants.
More than $7 million was spent on theme parks and entertainment.
WrestleMania’s first visit to Orlando in 2008 brought $50 million to the local economy, but that included only two wrestling shows and a smaller fan festival.
Orlando has become something of a second home for the promotion in recent years with the opening of the WWE Performance Center training facility in east Orlando and the establishment of the NXT developmental brand, which promotes shows at Full Sail University in Winter Park. And Dyer said he told WWE executive Stephanie McMahon that Orlando “should be in a rotation every four or five years.”
As for that championship belt, which Dyer received from WWE in March, the mayor said it typically resides in a display case near his office in City Hall.
“I know they’re sold at retail for a handsome price,” Dyer said.
WrestleMania 33 brought a record crowd of 75,245 fans to Orlando’s Camping World Stadium in April, and an influx of cash from ancillary events.