There have been rumblings about WWE moving next spring’s WrestleMania 37 from Southern California to Tampa.
Several factors are behind the move: the unlikelihood California will allow many fans, if any, to attend a show at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium by March 2021, a “make-up” to Tampa for the pandemic forcing WrestleMania 36 to the WWE Performance Center, and the chance that Florida would allow a full house to attend the event in Raymond James Stadium.
Five-and-a-half months is a lifetime from now with everything going on in the world, but the likelihood of that last factor just went up. And with, it’s reasonable to assume Vince McMahon’s desire to bring ‘Mania back to the Sunshine State’s Gulf Coast went up with it.
South Forida sports talk host Andy Slater first reported that Governor Ron DeSantis’ office told the NFL’s Miami Dolphins they could pack their Hard Rock Stadium to its 65,000 fan capacity for their Sun., Oct. 25 game against the L.A. Chargers (Dolphins’ ownership has declined, per ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe, saying they plan to follow CDC guidelines which limit them to 13,000 socially distanced attendees for the remainder of the season).
Reporter Jon Alba confirmed with Gov. DeSantis’ team, and was among several WWE watchers who connected the dots to Vince’s WrestleMania dreams. The statement Alba received specified “sports franchises,” saying teams “can do as they please, they don’t need clearance from the state.” But if your questioning whether pro wrestling counts as a “sports franchise,” remember this is the state that declared it an “essential business.” It’s highly unlikely semantics will be an issue here.
It might be more unlikely that McMahon can get out of whatever contracts he has in California for WrestleMania 37. It’s also not a lock that 65K wrestling fans will be willing to risk COVID exposure and spend the money required to head to Tampa next March for Randy Orton vs. Edge, or whatever big matches WWE can book.
But does anyone doubt that Vince will push hard to make it happen, especially now that he knows DeSantis will give him the green light?