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Sunday, July 22, 2001

Wrestlemania coming to Toronto?

Talks to return WrestleMania to SkyDome

By GEORGE CHRISTOPOULOS -- Toronto Sun

 Get ready to rumble, Toronto.
WRESTLEMANIA The program from WrestleMania VI in Toronto.
VIDEO CLIP: Clip: The Ultimate Warrior gets a clean pin on Hogan, wins title! (2.8 MB)


 The Sunday Sun has learned that negotiations to bring WrestleMania XVIII to SkyDome next spring have been under way for over a month.

 Sources close to the negotiations between SkyDome brass, Mayor Mel Lastman and officials from the World Wrestling Federation said the parties have been knocking heads since late May, trying to hammer out a contract to bring one of the greatest events in sports-entertainment back to Toronto.

 If a deal is struck, sources said the city expects up to 100,000 people to attend both the main event and related events, which would generate millions of dollars for the local economy.

 If approved, the event would take place next March and would be broadcast in 130 countries and in 13 languages.

 Carl DeMarco, president of World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Canada (WWFEC), who was seen leaving City Hall last week, couldn't be reached for comment yesterday and calls to Lastman and SkyDome owner Jake Geleerd weren't returned.

 From Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, Andre the Giant, Big John Studd, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff in the inaugural spectacle in 1985 to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, the Undertaker, Kane, The Hardy Boyz and The Rock today, WrestleMania has grown into a huge phenomenon.

 It's billed as the biggest single sports-entertainment event in North America after the Super Bowl.

 The annual extravaganza produced by WWFEC along with shows like Raw is War and SmackDown set records in Texas earlier this year, when 67,925 fans packed the Houston Astrodome for WrestleMania 17. The WWF claims it set an attendance record for the Astrodome, with a gross of $3,530,905 US.

 "Toronto's had a lot of success in this area in the past," Tim Hudak, Ontario minister of tourism, culture, and recreation, said yesterday. "Last time, it set a record for attendance at a wrestling event."

 The event hasn't been held in Toronto since 1990, when WrestleMania VI set Canadian attendance records at the SkyDome by attracting 67,678 fans.

 According to published reports, Tampa Bay is also being considered as a host city.

 -- With files from Heather Middleton

More on Wrestlemania XVIII

Toronto Sun WrestleMania 6 Stories





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