Philadelphia officials say city was never a finalist for WWE Wrestlemania, calls reports ‘bogus’
Philadelphia officials say the reason they aren’t hosting WWE Wrestlemania isn’t because they were rude.
“The reality is there was never a bid put forward from the city or Sports Congress or any of our venues for Wrestlemania for 2015 or 2016,” said Larry Needle, executive director of the Philadelphia Sports Congress.
Reports surfaced earlier today from various wrestling websites claiming the city spurned the sports entertainment company by acting as though the city “was doing them a favor” by hosting the event at Lincoln Financial Field.
Needle called the reports “Completely bogus.”
“We did not have availability at all of the venues that we needed to host the event,” Needle said. “As you can imagine you would have needed to be at Lincoln Financial Field, and have other events at the Wells Fargo Center and the Convention Center and we were not able to make all of the dates lineup.”
Needle said as much as the city “was interested in the event. … in this case we literally did not submit a bid.”
“So, to say we were even a finalist really wasn’t accurate,” Needle added. “And then to say that we lost it is even less accurate.”
According to WrestleChat.com, the wrestling organization set its sights on either Philly and Lincoln Financial Field, or Santa Clara, Calif. and the new 49ers stadium to host the 31st or 32nd installments of the annual wrestling extravaganza.
In the end the company chose California because, well, they were more excited, the website claimed.
“WWE officials got the feeling from Philadelphia and Lincoln Financial Field associates like the city was doing them a favor by allowing them to host their signature event in their town,” according to the website. “Santa Clara and 49ers officials were said to have made the WWE feel more invited and showed more enthusiasm in having the show there. In the end, the WWE simply felt like Santa Clara had a much larger interest in hosting WrestleMania 31.”
In response to the allegations, Needle said “all of the conjecture that seemed to start out there in the blogosphere and got legs for whatever reason is truly fabricated and incorrect.”
The WWE is expected to release a statement by the end of business today, Needle said.
Philly hosted Wrestlemania XV in 1999. The event featured Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker.