In addition, the sports entertainment company also announced that WrestleMania 38 will take place in Arlington/Dallas at the AT&T Stadium on April 3, 2022, and WrestleMania 39 will take place in Inglewood/Los Angeles at the SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park on April 2, 2023.
“The opportunity for Tampa Bay to host WrestleMania in April is, in true WWE fashion, the perfect comeback story and marks a clear indication that our beautiful city is poised to bounce back stronger than ever,” said Tampa mayor Jane Castor. “We can’t wait to once again showcase all that team Tampa Bay has to offer.”
WWE’s flagship pay-per-view was originally supposed to take place at the newly constructed SoFi Stadium this year, but those plans have shifted amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Most major sports venues across the country are still not allowing in-person attendance at live events, but Florida has been allowing fans to attend in a limited capacity. Ticket information and safety protocols will be announced for WrestleMania 37 in the coming weeks, as will information about other WrestleMania week events.
“The City of Inglewood looks forward to the opportunity to host WrestleMania in 2023 and celebrates the deferral of this year’s event to Tampa Bay so they can have their rightful WrestleMania moment,” said Inglewood mayor James T. Butts Jr. “Our time will come.”
WWE employed a similar strategy with WrestleMania in 2020, which was filmed with no audience at the company’s performance center in Orlando, Florida. It was filmed in late March and aired across two nights on April 4 and 5. The event received mostly positive reviews from fans, who praised matches such as Drew McIntyre’s win over Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship as well as the Boneyard Match between The Undertaker and AJ Styles.
“We are elated for WrestleMania’s return to Arlington’s AT&T Stadium and look forward to building upon the success from 2016 when more than 101,000 fans were in attendance for WrestleMania 32,” said Arlington mayor Jeff Williams.
The move also comes around two months after WWE announced that it was moving its ThunderDome residency from the Amway Center in Orlando to Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay. The company began using the ThunderDome set in August, which features large LED screens that virtually bring fans into the arena via live video.
“On behalf of everyone at WWE, we thank Governor DeSantis, Mayor Castor, Mayor Williams and Mayor Butts for their graciousness and flexibility in what was a collaborative effort to bring the next three WrestleManias to these iconic stadiums in their world-class cities,” said WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon.
Per WWE, tapings at ThunderDome are closed sets with only essential personnel in attendance. Health and safety protocols, including COVID-19 testing, social distancing, and wearing masks are also in effect. Still, the risk of COVID remains very real, with WWE announcing last week that McIntyre had tested positive for the virus and was placed in quarantine.
“Florida is excited to welcome back WrestleMania to Tampa in April at Raymond James Stadium,” said Florida governor Ron DeSantis. “Florida has continued to work with professional sports and entertainment to safely operate while generating revenue and protecting jobs. WrestleMania will bring tens of millions of dollars to the Tampa area and we look forward to hosting more sporting and entertainment events in Florida this year.”