WWE, City: Philadelphia never placed bid for WrestleMania

MetLife Stadium is packed with fans as they watch the WWE Wrestlemania 29 event Sunday, April 7, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
December 12, 2013 1:14:14 PM PST
A day after WWE held a press conference in Santa Clara, California, officially announcing the location of WrestleMania 31 in 2015, the sports entertainment company says Philadelphia, a rumored finalist, was not even in the running.

In a statement issued to 6abc Wednesday evening WWE says:

While Philadelphia expressed a great interest in hosting WrestleMania in 2015 and 2016, the fact is the city did not submit a formal proposal because the facilities necessary to host ancillary events weren't available. Philadelphia remains a strong market for WWE in all aspects of our business.

In other words, "Philadelphia did not bid."

Those were the words the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Sports Congress, Larry Needle, told 6abc prior to WWE issuing their statement.

According to Needle, WWE sent Philadelphia a request for proposal (RFP) for WrestleMania 31 and 32 a few months ago.

Needle says after discussing the idea of hosting WrestleMania 31 or 32 with administrators with Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Convention Center, and Comcast Spectactor, it was determined the dates were not available and no bid was ever made.

WWE holds multiple events during WrestleMania weekend, which is why not just Lincoln Financial Field officials were contacted.

"It was quickly obvious that we did not have the availability [at those venues]. The dates did not line up," Needle said.

The news of Philadelphia not placing a bid is quite a change from earlier reports that Philadelphia was a finalist for WrestleMania 31.

Earlier in the year, 6abc received comments from both WWE and the Philadelphia Sports Congress on those reports.

At that time WWE would only say: Philadelphia is one of the many cities that has expressed an interest in hosting a future WrestleMania.

The Sports Congress responded in August: While it is not our policy to discuss ongoing bid efforts, the Sports Congress and our area partners are in constant dialogue with the WWE about hosting their various major events, including WrestleMania and many others.

However, on Wednesday, Needle called stories of Philadelphia bidding and being a finalist to be "totally unnecessary" and "disconcerting."

Needle says "the blogosphere seemed to have had bad information that percolated for who knows how long."

"It's disconcerting that this story would get legs," Needle said.

However, according to Needle, Philadelphia pro wrestling fans should not give up on their dreams for WWE's annual spectacular to grace the City of Brotherly Love.

"We were and remain interested," Needle said.

Mayor Michael Nutter's press secretary Mark S. McDonald took to Twitter to respond the situation, as well:

"On Wrestlemania 31. #Philly groups never put a bid in for this event, tho in future they'd be interested. #checkyorumors."

Needle tells 6abc while it did not work out this time, WrestleMania would be fantastic for the city.

WrestleMania generated more than $100 million in revenue for the New York area for this past April's WrestleMania 29.

"We'd love to ultimately bring [WrestleMania] to Philadelphia, but in this case, for 2015 and 2016, the availability was not there and we did not pursue a bid," Needle said.

New Orleans is hosting WrestleMania 30 in April 2014. It is rumored that WrestleMania 32 will take place in Texas (but you know how rumors go).

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Sports Congress says it has continuing communication with WWE and will constantly look at future events.

Perhaps WrestleMania 33? 34?

"All good things in time," Needle said.


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