By Barry Janoff
March 30, 2015: In February 2016, Levi's Stadium will be the site of the NFL's historic Super Bowl 50, anticipated to be one of the most watched and marketed sports events of all time.
But the bar for memorable events was raised a bit higher on Sunday when WWE's WrestleMania 31 took over the venue, not only setting an attendance record for the young stadium (which opened this past August as the home for the San Francisco 49ers) but also became the highest grossing live event in WWE history.
WWE said that WrestleMania 31 grossed $12.6 million, helped the WWE Network to surpass 1.3 million subscribers and tagged in as the fifth-highest attended WrestleMania event ever with a Levi's Stadium record 76,976 on-hand.
WrestleMania 31 was bolstered by the "unannounced" participation of UFC champion Ronda Rousey and wrestling icon (and Hollywood star) Dwyane "The Rock" Johnson. The pair took down their "arch rivals," Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, in a confrontation that continued what has been billed as an on-going feud, which the participants vowed would continue.
"The night: Historic. The moment: Electric. The Rock, Ronda & the WWE Universe: Magic. We're just gettin' started," Rousey wrote on her Twitter account.
“We are thrilled that WrestleMania 31 has set the standard for all future events held at Levi’s Stadium," John Saboor, WWE evp-Special Events, said in a statement. "None of this success would have been possible without the support of (Santa Clara) Mayor (Jamie) Matthews, (San Jose) Mayor (Sam) Liccardo and the San Francisco 49ers, as well as our public and private sector partners that worked tirelessly to support all of our regional WrestleMania Week activities."
The all-time WrestleMania attendance figure is 93,173, set at WrestleMania 3 in the Silverdome, in Pontiac, Michigan, on March 29, 1987.
That record could be broken at WrestleMania 32, scheduled for April 3, 2016, in AT&T Stadium, home for the Dallas Cowboys, which can fit some 105,000 (including standing room).
Levi Strauss & Co. paid $220 million for 20-year naming rights to the stadium, which in February was home to the NHL Coors Light outdoor Stadium Series game between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings; and is the annual site of the college football Foster Farms Bowl game and until 2016 the site of the college football Pac-12 Championship Game.
WWE itself is on an expansion and marketing roll. A multi-platform campaign, "For The Hero In All Of Us," launched this month in conjunction with media partner NBCUniversal to reach core, casual and non-WWE fans alike.
WWE Network has unveiled a slate of programming also targeting core and casual fans, including Camp WWE, an animated comedy series in partnership with Seth Green’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios that envisions WWE Superstars and Divas when they were kids at their favorite summer camp; and Swerved, a half hour reality series from Jeff Tremaine (Jackass, Bad Grandpa).
The 1.3 million WWE Network subscribers represent a 97% increase from April 7, 2014 (the day after WrestleMania 30) and a 31% increase since Jan. 27, when the network surpassed the one million subscriber milestone, according to WWE.
According to Vince McMahon, WWE chairman and CEO, We believe that exceeding 1.3 million subscribers reflects the successful execution of our strategy and puts us on the path to transformative growth through WWE Network. We remain focused on driving subscriber value by delivering the most compelling user experience and new content."
WWE this month also became an official sponsor of the Special Olympics World Games, scheduled for Los Angeles this summer.
Top Ten All-Time Attendance Records at WrestleMania
1. 93,173: WrestleMania 3, Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan, March 29, 1987
2. 80,676: WrestleMania 29, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, April 7, 2013
3. 80,103: WrestleMania 23, Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan, April 1, 2007
4. 78,363: WrestleMania 28, Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida, April 1, 2012
5. 76,976: WrestleMania 31, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California, March 29, 2015
6. 75,167: WrestleMania 30, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA, April 6, 2014
7. 74,635: WrestleMania 24, Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida, March 30, 2008
8. 72,744: WrestleMania 25, Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas, April 5, 2009
9. 72,219: WrestleMania 26, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona, March 28, 2010
10. 71,617: WrestleMania 27, Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia, April 3, 2011
PHOTOS COURTESY WWE
WWE, NBCU Tag-Team For "Hero In All Of Us" Campaign
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