“In coordination with local partners and government officials, WrestleMania and all related events in Tampa Bay will not take place,” WWE said in a statement, “However, WrestleMania will still stream live on Sunday, April 5 at 7 pm ET on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view. Only essential personnel will be on the closed set at WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida to produce WrestleMania.”
The announcement comes after the Centers for Disease Control recommended Sunday that any gathering of 50 or more people be avoided or cancelled for eight weeks. President Trump said Monday that gatherings of 10 or more should be avoided as the U.S. tries to slow the spread of COVID-19. WrestleMania 36 was scheduled for Tampa, Fla. at the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – which has a capacity of 65,890 for football games.
All major sports leagues have canceled or suspended their seasons, including MLB, NHL, MLB, MLS and the NCAA, due to the spread of coronavirus. The UFC, after holding a card without fans last weekend, postponed its next three cards on Monday.
But WWE has not stopped holding televised events including “Monday Night Raw”, “Friday Night SmackDown” and “NXT”, although it has cancelled house shows.
The company broadcast SmackDown live from its Performance Center without fans and just essential personnel on Friday, and planned to do the same with Raw on Monday. As things stand now, that will likely continue during WrestleMania week. The statement does not address what will happen with the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony and NXT TakeOver show that was scheduled for WrestleMania week.
City officials in Tampa and WWE had decided last week to push back making a decision on what to do with WrestleMania and monitor the situation involving the coronavirus. The WrestleMania week events, which also includes numerous community events, carries a large economic impact for the host city and region. WWE’s premier show accounted for an economic impact of $165.4 million for New York and New Jersey last year and $175 million for New Orleans the year prior.