WrestleMania 29 still is a month away, but WWE already has focused its long-range telescope on sites to host its grandest event in 2015 and 2016.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that WWE has asked the Central Florida Sports Commission to bid on the possibility of Orlando hosting either WrestleMania 31 or 32. CFSC officials tell the newspaper that the bid request was timed perfectly because a planned renovation to the potential site would be completed in time to welcome WWE Superstars, Divas and fans.
Orlando is one of several cities asked by WWE to bid on the event, according to the newspaper report.
Orlando and WWE have history. The city hosted WrestleMania XXIV in 2008 at the Florida Citrus Bowl, which at that time was only the second WrestleMania to be held in an outdoor facility.
Last year, WrestleMania 28 was held at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. This year’s event will be April 7 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Next year’s show will be at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
The WrestleMania XXIV crowd of 74.635 set a Citrus Bowl record that still stands today, the newspaper reported. If Orlando is successful in landing WM 31 or 32, it would be held again at the Citrus Bowl.
According to the newspaper, the stadium is set to undergo renovations that will add up to 6,000 club level seats. The renovations should be complete by early 2015, the report says.
Brent Nelson, the sports commission’s senior vice president, tells the Sentinel that having WrestleMania come to Orlando is a perfect fit:
[Hosting WrestleMania] falls in line with our strategy as a community to become the premier sports destination in the United States. Taking our existing venues and elevating them to the next level will allow us to do that.
The Sentinel reports that WrestleMania 24 generated about $50 million in economic impact on the city and its outlying areas. The CFSC’s vice president of marketing and events tells the newspaper that he expects a “similar, if not larger impact” by a second WrestleMania.
The last time WrestleMania was in Orlando, the main event saw The Undertaker defeat Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship. Earlier that night, Randy Orton successfully defended the WWE Championship in a Triple Threat Match against John Cena and Triple H.
The event’s biggest “gimmick” match saw The Big Show get knocked out by pro boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The most emotional match of the night, though, was the retirement match between Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels in which Flair would retire if he lost. The camera caught Michaels saying, “I’m sorry” before hitting Flair with his Sweet Chin Music finisher and pinning him.
Orlando is bidding to become the eighth city to repeat as host of a WrestleMania event.
The Sentinel reports that bids from all the cities contacted must be in to WWE by March 15. Finalists would be chosen in mid-June, according to the report.
The report also says that if Orlando is one of the finalists, there will be a round of interviews of city representatives by WWE officials. A final decision would be made by Aug. 1, and the winning city would be notified. But the decision would not be made public until next year.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.