NEW ORLEANS -- Tourism officials compared WrestleMania to a Final Four or an NBA Allstar game. World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE, announced Monday that New Orleans will host their 30th championship in 2014.
It's a sellout event that could bring tens of thousands to town.
To announce the event, WWE put on a press conference as well produced as one of their shows. The ballroom at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was dimly-lit with spot lights and disco balls. Pre-produced videos aired on a massive screen behind the speakers on a central stage, while music boomed on cue. Everyone who took to the stage got their own entrance music, something that made Mayor Mitch Landrieu giggle when he walked up to the podium.
City officials, actors and wrestlers joined in on Monday’s announcement, including John Cena.
“I am genuinely excited to come here for WrestleMania,” he said at Monday’s announcement.
The event is expected to draw 100,000 people to New Orleans in April of next year.
“It's a rock concert. It's a soap opera. It's all rolled into one. Every form of entertainment. Every form of sport all rolled into one,” said WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon.
The excitement over WrestleMania extends beyond the Superdome, however, all the way to the Morial Convention Center, where outside events will be hosted all that week.
“I'm sure it's gonna be a sellout, which is a minimum of 70,000 people depending on what the seating configuration will be,” said Jay Cicero, CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation.
It's the latest in a string of major sporting events choosing New Orleans as their host city. In 2014, New Orleans will also host another NBA All Star Game.
“We are in the business of sports entertainment. I don't think there's any city in America that does it better than us and this is one of the premier events,” Landrieu said.
WrestleMania is WWE's championship, and this year it's at the Medowlands in New Jersey, the same stadium that will host the Super Bowl next year.
“These are big facilities with large seating capacities and they are our rivals as far as bidding on events,” Cicero said.
It’s the fruit of a sales mission in 2008.
Last year, WWE commissioned an economic impact study of the WrestleMania event in Miami. It showed a $100 million economic impact. New Orleans is hoping for something similar.