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WrestleMania 41’s Role in Las Vegas’ Growing Sports Culture

WWE WrestleMania 41 logo

In May 2024, WWE revealed that Las Vegas, Nevada would be hosting WrestleMania 41 during Easter weekend 2025. This is set to be the second WrestleMania held in the city, the first being the ninth event held in 1993 at Caesar’s Palace.

The show will be running out of Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders football team and the site of the 2021 edition of SummerSlam. There was rampant speculation regarding a bidding war held by major cities with Minneapolis being a reported favorite and even Triple H suggesting the possibility of London.

With this though, comes another chapter of the growth of Las Vegas as a sports destination in recent years and a new direction of how WWE will present its biggest annual show. 

Vegas Before The Knights

Before the arrival of the NHL Golden Knights to the city in 2017, Vegas hosted mainly regional and minor league teams. The Thomas & Mack Center hosts the UNLV Rebels, an NCAA collegiate basketball team with a capacity of 18,000 seats located on the aforementioned campus.

Vince McMahon’s XFL made two plays for teams in its 2001 launch with the Outlaws and later with the Vipers in 2020. The Vipers were based out of Cashman Field, a multi-sport field that like the Thomas & Mack has served the Vegas metropolitan area for over 40 years. 

The MGM Grand Garden Arena hosted many professional boxing cards featuring the top draws of the last few decades from Mike Tyson to Manny Pacquiao. The venue also held dozens of UFC events from the early 2000s to the mid-2010s.

There are other multipurpose and sporting venues in the city such as the Mandalay Bay Events Center, but these lack the size and amenities needed for a major team to call home. Dry desert heat and harsh sunlight mean an arena will need to work around these issues to ensure comfort for spectators while being able to support the event. 

A Wrestling Oasis In The Desert

Despite lacking an arena home to a major sports team, the WWE has found success in the market since the 1980s where they hosted tapings at the Thomas & Mack. Since then, WWE has hosted pay-per-views such as No Way Out in 2001 and 2008 with the occasional house show and television production.

The Thomas & Mack isn’t the only arena WWE has promoted shows out of, as WWE has utilized the MGM Grand and even WCW broadcast Halloween Havoc from 1996 to their closure out of there. Similar to boxing, concerts, and other forms of live entertainment, professional wrestling has garnered attention in the city thanks to its appeal among casual fans and die-hards.

Like with other family-friendly traveling shows such as Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the WWE offers entertainment outside of the typical fair of Sin City.

New Ground Is Broken

Grumblings of a new arena entered the public sphere as early as July 2012, with CBS Sports reporting the development of a new sports venue intended for the NHL. The planned 20,000-seat venue was plotted right near the Vegas Strip, making it attractive to tourists looking to see a sporting event or concert during a stay.

The T-Mobile Arena opened its doors in spring 2016, becoming home to the Golden Knights. Aside from hockey games and concerts, UFC, WWE, and even AEW have found success in hosting shows out of the arena. The UFC, WWE’s Endeavor-adjacent partner turned the T-Mobile Arena into their home base in the city as a continuation of their relationship with MGM Resorts International.

Talks for the Raiders moving to Vegas stem as far back as 2016, when as told by KCRA, Nevada’s state legislature gave the green light for the move from Oakland to Vegas. Construction went by over the course of a few years, with the final brick laid in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Associated Press discussed Allegiant Stadium’s completion and lack of cheering fans to celebrate the occasion, with football games held behind closed doors.

As lockdown restrictions began being lifted in 2021, mass gatherings such as sporting events saw a second life as isolated fans looked forward to returning to the stands. A few months back on the road, WWE announced that SummerSlam would be held at the stadium in August of that year.

As told by Fightful, WWE President Nick Khan explained on Fox 5 Las Vegas that the city was chosen as it took a significant hit economically during the pandemic. In a press release, the company touted the show as a high-grossing and viral success with millions made at the box office and merchandise.

Sin City’s Super Bowl Smash

In 2024, Allegiant Stadium hosted Super Bowl LVIII where the Kansas City Chiefs bested the San Francisco 49ers. The event was a great success for the city, with the KTNV reporting millions in tax revenue made from the billion-dollar impact the show made on the city.

Said money, along with other forms of taxation such as from marijuana, alcohol, and hotel-resort fees are intended to benefit public services like roads and schools. The Las Vegas Review-Journal exposed the shortcomings of the city’s infrastructure such as roads, hotel rooms, and the airport leading to congestion. Compare this to WrestleMania 35, which ended after midnight and saw thousands of fans struggle to make it home due to failures of the New Jersey Transit system as reported by Deadspin.

A City Fit For ‘Mania

Similar to the Super Bowl, the location of WrestleMania is the result of a bidding war between municipalities. Not only is the arena important, but the infrastructure of the city such as public transportation and resting quarters. It’s going to be a race among the local resorts and Airbnbs, even the aging Harry Reid Airport, to brace themselves for April as wrestling fans from around the world are set to convene.

Weather is a key component as Nick Khan told reporters at the Sports Business Journal that the company is looking to avoid outdoor stadiums on the east coast during April. WrestleMania 37 became the first WrestleMania to have its bell time delayed due to inclement weather, as Tampa Bay experienced significant rainfall that soaked the stage and crew. Mandy Rose would credit the rain for causing her infamous slip while walking down the aisle, becoming a meme amongst the fanbase.

The frigid temperatures of Philadelphia this year saw the use of a heated ring, dug out of company storage for the first time since New Jersey’s WrestleMania 35 as PWInsider told readers. Outdoor venues make for a great aesthetic as dusk overtakes the stadium but a poor experience for in-person viewing which can compromise the live gate. Given Vegas’ location in the Mojave and ‘Mania is booked outside of flood season, a last-minute storm or cold front is less than likely to deter the festivities.

With Cash Comes Controversy

Another team looking to follow the Raiders out of Oakland, the Athletics are expected to move to Vegas by 2028. The MLB has released concept images touting a new arena near the Strip with a state-of-the-art jumbotron and coverage from intense rays of sunlight.

The Tropicana, a famed resort, shuttered its doors in April of 2024 to make way for the stadium as told by Yahoo Sports. Though ground is yet to be broken, the Associated Press has reported of an ongoing lawsuit between the team and a Vegas-based public action committee known as Strong Public Schools Nevada.

The center of the conflict is the state government shilling hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars to entice the Athletics in their move. The teacher’s group is hoping that by taking the matter to court, the public won’t need to foot the bill while the education of the state lags behind.

NewNation Now notes that T-Mobile Arena was privately funded and while a diversified economy can help locals, a debate among taxpayers should take place regarding how those funds are appropriated.

What The Future Holds For Locals

 REBusiness Online explored the growth of Southern Nevada’s economy thanks to its ballooning population, with billions reported to be poured into real estate projects. The NBA has yet to break into Vegas, with Sportico reporting that there are organizations looking to break ground for a basketball arena for the team.

Cashman Field is seemingly being fazed out by the Vegas Lights Football Club, with the Review-Journal claiming that a new soccer stadium is being developed for the Major League Soccer outfit. The city is growing and looking to advance into the twenty-first century as new ventures such as Formula 1’s Las Vegas Strip Circuit and the MSG Sphere are turning heads to the desert.

The local government is looking to demolish aging buildings and utilize empty lot space in multimillion-dollar contracts. Relics of the city’s Golden Age are rotting to the foundation day by day, with real estate speculators looking to morph the space from an adult’s getaway to a family-oriented tourist hub.

UFC, per ESPN, has booked a show at the Sphere for September 2024. WWE is yet to announce something for the venue, but it’s worth noting that NXT Battleground is set to take place at the UFC Apex.

It’s likely the company’s brass will be in town to shake hands and make friends with the officials to instill good PR through its relationship with the Vegas-based UFC. It’s worth noting Vegas’ sentiment within Nick Khan, a UNLV graduate, which can help in projecting a positive image for the company going into April. 

For the city of Las Vegas, the event will be another feather in the cap of the government looking to shift away from a dependence on gaming and pad out the city’s coffers after the travel drought seen with the COVID-19 Pandemic. It serves as a chance for sports leagues and real estate capitalists to gauge their interest in exploring the expanding economic frontier of the city.

What This Means For WrestleMania 41

All in all, WrestleMania XLI will certainly yield an impressive gate and pay-per-view buys as each event does annually. The local economy, especially the tourism sector and ancillary businesses, will see a boost thanks to the influx of wrestling fans traveling from around the globe.

Hotels, transportation services, and pink-collar laborers will take the brunt of the strain as an estimated 180,000 fans are expected to visit the city next April per 8 News Now. Aside from the show, Easter weekend will see non-fans arriving for a typical weekend getaway which will instigate traffic and congestion.

The big show will benefit local wrestling promotions as well, with WrestleMania weekend usually hosting dozens of fan events and signings. Last time the company was hosted at Allegiant, a tryout camp was held where Tatum Paxley and Nikita Lyons among others, were scouted. WrestleMania is the biggest weekend annually for all involved in the industry and will provide an opportunity for local talent to earn a shot at the top promotion of the world.

For the fans, it will be a weekend extravaganza for fans of all kinds of wrestling – from the spectacle of WWE to the niche audiences of the various independents visiting the city. Wrestling should be for everyone, and Las Vegas will be spoilt for choice come Easter weekend next year.

More From LWOS Pro Wrestling

Header photo – WWE – Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE content on the WWE Network and Peacock.

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