Wrestlemania continues with larger economic impact predicted

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Wrestlemania fans shifted their focus from the Superdome  to the South Louisiana swamp today, and Monday night, it's back to the Smoothie King Center for more action.

It is all part of a $140 million-plus economic impact that's still going strong.
They lined up on Poydras St., with memories of Sunday night's 8-hour extravaganza still fresh.

"Wrestlemania is right up there with the Final 4 and the Super Bowl," said

Mike Sorkin, who  is a ticket broker from Rhode Island. He says Wrestlemania is a blockbuster event,  with ticket prices still accessible to the common fan.

"I would say about $500 is the average...ringside is 2000 and up...and you can get in for 75 dollars, you can't do that for a super bowl," said Sorkin.

Sunday night, over 75,000 people packed the Superdome, drawn to the lights and the eternal battle of good versus evil, whether real or manufactured.

"The amount of equipment (mostly lighting) hung, is 550,000 pounds, compared to a big arena show of around 110,000, so this was five times the poundage we normally see," said Superdome General Manager Alan Freeman.

"It's a cult of nerdism, if you will. You can bring kids like this, if you like wrestling, you're accepted," said wrestling fan Coleco Yates, from San Diego, holding his young son.

And though Sunday night's main event is over, Wrestlemania 34 events are still going strong as it returns to New Orleans after a three-year absence.

On Monday, wrestling fans loaded tour buses bound for the swamp to see a different sort of show.

"They go out there and don't wrestle the alligators, they wrestle everything else," said tour bus driver Dale Trosclair.

The New Orleans Sports Foundation expects the economic impact to be bigger than last time because they've stretched the event into extra days.

"They have added the Tuesday night Smackdown, which is part of the Wrestlemania week now," said Freeman.

But there was a hitch Sunday night in the Dome. Despite ordering more food than last time, concession supplies ran low during the eight-hour event.

"Our vendors said they put out 15 % more food than they did in 2014, but people may have been hungrier than last time, but they had challenges in some spots," said Freeman.

Wrestling fans we spoke with didn't seem to mind.

"New Orleans is the best host, everything is so close, Bourbon St. - New Orleans is number one," said Sorkin.

And they hope that Wrestlemania returns in the not-too-distant future.

Next year's Wrestlemania will go to the New York City area and Met Life stadium. After that, the next site has not been selected. But New Orleans tourism leaders say discussions have already begun to bring it back to New Orleans.

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