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WrestleMania

WrestleMania

This Sunday fans from across the globe will tune into the sports entertainment spectacle know as WrestleMania.

WrestleMania has long been compared to the Super Bowl or World Series in terms of scale and importance.   Unlike those events, WrestleMania will be shown on the WWE Network, which is a streaming service like Netlfix or Hulu.  The network was launched in 2014 and has made a big impact in a very short time. In 2016 Park Associates market and research firm determined the WWE Network was in the top 5 of subscription-based services. With over 1.5 million current subscribers to the network, the WWE has built an impressive business model that many sports franchises are trying to mimic.

For whatever reason, professional wrestling still has a stigma attached to it. People still look at it as “a male soap opera” or something beneath them. Despite what some may think, professional wrestling and more specifically WWE has over a million viewers every week. The WWE’s flagship show Monday Night Raw is one of the longest-running U.S. television series of all time. The show has well over a thousands episodes.  WWE’s other program Smackdown Live will soon hit the airways as well as it currently has aired 918 episodes.  While professional wrestling may still be looked down at, there’s no question that WWE is a powerhouse.

With WrestleMania airing this Sunday, I wanted to dive into some statistics to show how much of a juggernaut WrestleMania is.  WrestleMania started in 1985 taking place in Madison Square Garden and drawing 19,121 fans. WrestleMania 2 took place in three different states, New York, Illinois and California. Can you imagine if this were done today? Imagine if during halftime of the Super Bowl the entire game was moved into another state. In the early days WWE tried different gimmicks and tricks and eventually worked out a template for future WrestleMania’s.

WrestleMania 3 is famous for Hulk Hogan slamming Andre the Giant. However, it is also famous for setting, at the time, the largest indoor-attendance record in North America at 93,173. That record was broken in 2010 for the NBA All-Star game.  That record was broken once again in 2016 during WrestleMania 32. That number, according to WWE, was 101,763.

Looking at the numbers, the WWE’s most popular time was in the late 90s. That period featured stars like The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, the NWO and many more. While there may not be as much buzz surrounding WWE now, it is still very impressive that the brand has remained relevant all this time.  The WWE is an ongoing story that never ends. As soon as one story ends, another begins. There is truly nothing like it in the world.

Let’s take a look at this Sunday’s WrestleMania.  The event features stars such as Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Triple H, The Undertaker, Bayley, Seth Rollins and many more. Artist Pitbull will perform at the end. The expected attendance for the event is around 55,000. Now that doesn’t come close to the pervious numbers mentioned before, but rumor has it the stage setup is so extravagant that it’s taking up space normally reserved for seats.

WrestleMania is truly an event to witness.  It features action, drama, humor and everything in between. It’s one long movie that for the most part has something for everyone. So if you’re looking for something to down on Sunday, I suggest ordering a pizza and watching some good old fashioned wrestling.

Michael.O@chicagonewstoday.com